Fact Check: Is the study that created a hybrid Covid virus risky?

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Is the new hybrid covid virus made by Boston University harmful for humans?
Did Boston University produced a hybrid Covid virus to harm humans?
No. The study was done to find the reason behind the diminished severity of the omicron variant in comparison to past variants. The result of experiment shows that it is not the spike protein that drives Omicron pathogenicity, but instead other viral proteins. Such an outcome can ensure better diagnostics and Covid management strategies.

Quick Take

Rating

A social media post claims Boston university has created hybrid covid virus. This strain will kill 80% of the people it infects. We fact-checked and found the claim to be Mostly False. The result of the study is misinterpreted and blown out of proportion on social media.

The Claim

A Twitter post claims that Boston university has produced a new hybrid strain of covid virus. This strain will kill 80% of the people it infects. 

Different users on Twitter have shared similar social media posts.

Fact Check

What does the study on hybrid Covid virus say?

The preprint study titled ‘Role of spike in the pathogenic and antigenic behavior of SARS-CoV-2 BA.1 Omicron’ created a new strain called Omi-S hybrid virus. This strain contains both ancestral virus and omicron virus. After producing the new strain of Covid virus, researchers infected the first batch of mice with the ancestral virus strain. Later they infected the second batch with the omicron strain. The final batch of mice was infected with the newly produced hybrid Covid strain. 

This preprint study is based on another study published in 2020. The 2020 study shows that the new chimeric SARS-CoV-2 virus can be produced with the spike protein of omicron and the remaining viral structures can be developed from the original virus strain.

Is the study that created a hybrid Covid virus risky?

No. This study attempts to find the reason for diminished severity of the omicron variant in comparison to past variants. The experiment showed that 100% of mice infected with the ancestral virus strain died. 80% of those infected with Omi-S died, and none of the mice infected with Omicron died.

This study was done only on mice and not on humans. At this moment, it is difficult to say whether the results of preprint study can predict the outcome if humans were infected with the hybrid virus.

Even the head of the lab which did the study informed that the claim of 80% has been misinterpreted. “This was a statement taken out of context for the purposes of sensationalism,” said Ronald Corley, the Director of the University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL).

One of the lead authors of the study informed “Consistent with studies published by others, this work shows that it is not the spike protein that drives omicron pathogenicity, but instead other viral proteins. Determination of those proteins will lead to better diagnostics and disease management strategies”.

It is not the first time that research papers around Covid have been misinterpreted on social media. THIP MEDIA previously fact checked a similar case Covid vaccinated people forced to seek medical care.

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Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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