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Lab-made Coronavirus ‘Chimera’ Shows Why Omicron Seems Less Deadly

A protein other than the infamous spike affects the virus's ability to sicken

A controversial coronavirus (COVID-19) experiment at Boston University has identified a mutation in the omicron variant that might help explain why it doesn’t appear to be as likely to sicken or kill as the original strain that emerged in China. The finding could offer scientists a new target for designing therapies that limit the severity of covid.

The report, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, comes three months after researchers posted an early version of the study that ignited a media firestorm, as well as confusion over who, exactly, funded the work and whether it required greater government oversight.

In a lab experiment, the researchers combined the spike protein of an early lineage of omicron with the backbone of the original strain that emerged in Wuhan, China. The work, though not significantly different from numerous other experiments, drew media attention and set off fears that such manipulation of the coronavirus could unleash a more dangerous variant.

Please select this link to read the complete article from The Washington Post.

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