A scientific journal published by top Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers shared studies appearing to engage in gain-of-function type research, a controversial method of studying pathogens that can increase their lethality.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology is believed to have engaged in the risky form of research regarding bat coronaviruses, as now-deleted webpages reveal the lab manipulating bat coronaviruses to “replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells and achieve in vitro titers equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV.”
Now, the latest edition of the lab’s journal, Virologica Sinica, appears to contain a similar style of research with the H7N9 virus in chickens and mice. The publication’s Editor-in-Chief is Wuhan’s infamous “bat lady,” Shi Zhengli, who is the lab’s premier bat coronavirus researcher and a recipient of funds from Anthony Fauci through Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance.
Virologica Sinica published the study “Combined Insertion of Basic and Non-basic Amino Acids at Hemagglutinin Cleavage Site of Highly Pathogenic H7N9 Virus Promotes Replication and Pathogenicity in Chickens and Mice” in its most recent edition, published February 2022.
The paper’s abstract outlines how researchers “generated six H7N9 viruses,” analyzing how various amino acids altered the virus’ virulence and infectivity.
“We characterized the reconstituted viruses in terms of viral replication in avian and mammalian cells, thermostability and acid stability, cleavage efficiency, the virulence in mice, and pathogenicity and transmissibility in chickens,” outlined the study.
“The I335V substitution of H7N9 virus enhanced infectivity and transmission in chickens, suggesting that the combination of mutations and insertions of amino acids at the HACS promoted replication and pathogenicity in chickens and mice,” explained researchers.
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While the study conducted experiments on mice and chicken, it noted that H7N9 variants are “also highly transmissible in ferrets, posing the threats of pandemic potential in humans.”
In one case study, the H7N9 variant caused a 35 percent mortality rate in mice, with researchers noting that certain amino acids “increased the pathogenicity”:
Surprisingly, the monobasic mutants (i.e., PEIPKGR/G) showed clear symptoms of infection, including shaggy hair and abdominal breathing, after the second day of infection, followed by 15% of weight loss compared to the initial weight and death, with a mortality rate of 35%. In addition, each H7N9 viruses can replicate efficiency in lungs of the infected mice PEVPKRKRTAR/G (P ¼ 0.0109) significantly increased viral titers in the lungs of mice compared to that of the PEVPKGR/G group, indicating that the insertion of KRTA increased the pathogenicity of mice.
“Notably, we observed that the insertion of non-basic amino acids TA and IA in H7N9 viruses caused death in mice despite having the same viral titer, which suggested that HPAIV H7N9 inserted with a non-basic amino acid posed a potential threat to humans,” added the paper.
The paper follows continued revelations about the Wuhan Institute of Virology engaging in “gain of function” research with U.S. taxpayer funds from Fauci’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) agency.