In the last 48 hours, people have been screaming about the news that Boston University researchers stuck the Omicron spike into the original Sars-Cov-2 virus -
and PRODUCED A VIRUS WITH AN 80 PERCENT MORTALITY RATE WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE DIE DIE HOW COULD THEY DO THIS -
I read the paper.
It says the Omicron/wild-type Sars-Cov-2 combination the researchers created is more lethal than Omicron.
However, it ALSO says the Omicron/wild type virus is LESS lethal than original wild type. Neither of those findings should be a surprise. Omicron is much less dangerous than the original Sars-Cov-2, so blending the two together produces a virus with intermediate lethality.
What’s with the 80 percent mortality rate then?
It’s in mice, people.
And guess what? The wild-type had a 100 PERCENT mortality rate in mice.
Yes, all the mice infected with the original Sars-Cov-2 died.
Which is really bad. If you’re a mouse.
I think we can agree that Sars-Cov-2 does not have a 100 percent mortality rate in humans.
Nor did the researchers provide any evidence that the blended Omicron/wild-type coronavirus is able to defeat antibodies in people who have been infected with and recovered from Omicron. Which is basically all of us. (They did show that both the original Omicron and their variant beats the mRNA vaccines, but that fact is not a surprise either.)
Further, this work was conducted in a Biosafety Level 3 lab, the second-highest level, used for most viruses that aren’t Ebola/Marburg or smallpox. Should the work have been done in a top-level BSL 4 lab, with positive pressure and all the rest? Maybe. But considering we’ve all been exposed to Omicron already, and considering that the infection fatality rate from even the wild-type is more like 0.3 percent - 3 in 1000 - than 30 percent - maybe not.
Would it be a good idea to make this sort of fiddling with Sars-Cov-2 public BEFORE scientists conduct it, so virologists and the rest of us could discuss its risk? Yeah, more disclosure probably makes sense.
But truly, if the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that the biggest risk from Sars-Cov-2 is hysteria, not the virus itself.
Try not to fall into the trap.