Scientists CREATE MUTANT Ebola virus

… have engineered a virus with parts of Ebola in a lab

… used a contagious disease of livestock

and added a protein found in Ebola

which allows the virus to infect cells and spread throughout the human body

… hamsters ‘developed severe systemic diseases similar to those observed in human Ebola patients

… including multi-organ failure,’

… saw the infected hamsters develop secretions in their eyes

… scabbed over the surface of the eyeballs

… their goal was find the right animal models that can safely mimic Ebola symptoms in a lab setting

… Ebola needs to be handled in Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) facilities

… while many are only BLS-2

… To work around this in a lower security setting

… used a different virus called vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)

… engineered to carry part of the Ebola virus that’s called glycoprotein (GP)

… plays a crucial role in helping the virus enter and infect cells of its host

… five female and five male hamsters that were all three weeks old

… All female Syrian hamsters … died between two and three days

… The five male … succumbed to the disease at no later than three and a half days

… two male hamsters survived

… virus accumulated in the heart, liver, spleen, lung, kidney, stomach, intestines and brain tissues

… developed severe systemic diseases similar to those observed in human EBOV patients

… concluding the study was a success  [ Virologica Sinica ]

… Testing infectious viruses is necessary for breakthroughs in treatment and prevention

… But lab leaks happen

… lab leak incidents occur every year

… ‘[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,’


              Virologica Sinica