Boston University researchers claim to have developed a new COVID strain that far surpasses the COVID-19 strain in terms of lethality.
A team of Floridian and Bostonian scientists at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories say the new strain has an 80% kill rate, according to Fox News. The strain is a combination of both the original virus and the Omicron strain that later spread like wildfire across the world.
Researchers used mice to test the lethality of the new COVID variant, dubbed “Omicron S.”
“In… mice, while Omicron causes mild, non-fatal infection, the Omicron S-carrying virus inflicts severe disease with a mortality rate of 80 percent,” they wrote, per the outlet.
Similar experiments were taking place at the Wuhan Institute of Virology prior to the original outbreak. The scientists there were performing “gain-of-function” research to amplify and alter the properties of coronaviruses. A leak from the lab remains one of the most prominent theories as to the origins of the pandemic.
Congress has since banned funding to the Chinese lab.
The announcement has prompted outrage from at least one lawmaker, who pointed to the Wuhan lab leak theory and further questioned the purpose of such research.
“It is unconscionable that NIH [National Institutes of Health] sponsors this lethal gain of function virus research through Boston University and EcoHealth Alliance in densely populated areas, creating potential to kill more people than any singular nuclear weapon,” said Kansas Republican Sen. Roger Marshall in a press release. “History has taught us that viruses have managed to escape even the most secure labs. This is not a risk that scientists alone should be able to take without concurrence from the American public. This research must stop immediately while the risks and benefits can be investigated.”
“NIH continues to fund this dangerous research while it obstructs Congressional investigations into the COVID origins despite admissions from the U.S. Intelligence Community, the WHO, the Lancet, and countless others that it is possible the COVID-19 pandemic arose from a lab accident in Wuhan,” he went on.