Mutant Ebola virus causes horrific symptoms and quickly kills group of test hamsters.

Chinese scientists have engineered a virus with elements of Ebola in a lab that killed a group of hamsters.

Researchers at the Hebei Medical University in Shijiazhuang, the capital of China’s Hebei province, grafted a protein found in Ebola to a contagious disease found in livestock with horrific results.

The group of test hamsters that received the lethal injection “developed severe systemic diseases similar to those observed in human Ebola patients, including multi-organ failure,” the study claimed.

The Daily Mail noted that “one particularly horrific symptom saw the infected hamsters develop secretions in their eyes, which impaired their vision and scabbed over the surface of the eyeballs.”

The researchers used gain of function methods to bypass the high security Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) protocols required for Ebola to work on the mutant virus in a lower security setting.

From the Daily Mail:

To work around this in a lower security setting, scientists used a different virus called vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), which they engineered to carry part of the Ebola virus that’s called glycoprotein (GP) that plays a crucial role in helping the virus enter and infect cells of its host.

The team studied five female and five male hamsters that were all three weeks old.

All female Syrian hamsters showed decreased rectal temperature and up to 18 percent weight loss – they all died between two and three days.

The five male  hamsters lost 15 percent weight and succumbed to the disease at no later than three and a half days.

However, two male hamsters survived and gained 20 percent more weight than pre-infection. 

The team harvested organs from the dead animals, finding the virus accumulated in the heart, liver, spleen, lung, kidney, stomach, intestines and brain tissues.

Despite the grim results, the scientists concluded the study was a success.

“The surrogate virus and matched hamster EVD [Ebola virus disease] model will improve the security and economy of the research in the EBOV field,” the researchers wrote in the study.

The questionable research by China raised concerns of another catastrophic lab leak incident given the somewhat frequency of lab leaks that have been documented, including that of SARS-CoV-2.

Data released this March revealed that lab leak incidents occur every year and included the release of controlled pathogens like tuberculosis and anthrax

There are anywhere from 70 to 100 releases were recorded every year.

However Dr Richard Ebright, a chemical biologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey told that its unlikely that a lab leak involving VSV would lead to widespread infection in the public.

‘[It] will be imperative to verify that the novel chimeric virus does not infect and replicate in human cells, and does not pose risk of infectivity, transmissibility, and pathogenicity in humans, before proceeding with studies at biosafety level 2,’ he said.

In sum, Communist China is continuing dangerous virological experiments and research with impunity and no international oversight. What could possibly go wrong?

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