Recently, scientists in China have developed a new mutant strain of the COVID-19 virus, referred to as GX_P2V. This mutated strain has been tested on genetically modified mice, and the results have been concerning.
All mice subjects suffered a “rapid death” following the experiment. The study revealed that GX_P2V has a 100% mortality rate in these “humanized” mice, with all infected mice succumbing within eight days.
Effects of the Mutant Virus in Humanized Mice
According to the bioRxiv study, the experiment involved “humanized” ACE2-transgenic mice, which have been genetically altered to have a human receptor that the virus can bind to. The rapid and fatal impact of GX_P2V on these mice is alarming, as it suggests a high level of lethality of the variant.
The effects of the mutated strain were extensive, affecting multiple organs in the mice, including lungs, bones, eyes, tracheas, and brains. The severity of brain infections was particularly noted as a critical factor in the rapid decline and eventual death of the mice.
Before their death, the mice exhibited significant weight loss, hunched postures, sluggish movement, and notably, their eyes turned completely white a day before death. All of the subjects were dead within 8 days of the experiment, proving the fatality of this variant.
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How Lethal is the GX_PV2 Virus?
This study reports a 100% mortality rate in mice infected with a COVID-19-related virus, a rate that is significantly higher than what has been observed in previous studies. This rate is notably higher than what was observed in previous studies, indicating the potential severity of this virus.
“This underscores a spillover risk of GX_P2V into humans and provides a unique model for understanding the pathogenic mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2-related viruses,” according to the authors of the study. The findings raise significant concerns about the potential implications for human health should such a strain affect humans.
GX_P2V is a mutated form of GX/2017, a coronavirus strain found in Malaysian pangolins in 2017, well before the pandemic started. Pangolins are mammals typically found in warm regions. It’s crucial to note that while this study is available on bioRxiv, it has yet to undergo a thorough peer-review process, which is a key step in validating scientific findings.
Will This Cause Another Outbreak?
Viral mutations, such as those seen in COVID-19, are common and closely monitored by scientists to gauge their impact on public health. The development of variants like Delta and Omicron demonstrates the virus’s ability to evolve and adapt.
The study in question, conducted in China, involves intentional manipulation of the virus to understand its effects on human-like biological systems.
However, the emergence of a new mutation does not automatically translate to a widespread outbreak or significant health threat. Scientists across the globe are diligently monitoring these developments and collaborating on strategies to combat the virus.
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