Researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology isolated new strains of a virus that is “closely related” to Monkeypox in a recently published study.
The unearthed paper follows The National Pulse unearthing another study published by the controversial Chinese lab that detailed the assembly of new monkeypox virus strains in February 2022. The work came just months before the latest international outbreak of monkeypox cases which appear to have now reached the United States.
Eleven researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology authored the newly uncovered paper “Identification, Isolation, and Characterization of an Ectromelia Virus New Strain from an Experimental Mouse,” originally published on July 21st, 2020. It was later included in the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s scientific journal Virologica Sinica in 2021.
The study describes the “isolation” of a new strain of Ectromelia Virus (ECTV) – “ECTV-WH” – from an experimental mouse brain. The strain was flagged as potentially having “higher replication efficiency in vivo and higher transmitting efficiency to cause respiratory infection in mice.”
The Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers also warn that ECTV is highly similar to Monkeypox:
“ECTV is closely related to Variola virus, the causative agent of smallpox, and Monkeypox virus, the causative agent of a severe zoonosis. It is an attractive virus model for study of poxvirus pathogenesis, viral immune and inflammatory responses, and could be used for antiviral and vaccine tests.”
At the time of the study’s publication, the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s ECTV strain was “preserved in the National Virus Resource Center.” Additionally, researchers noted it “could be provided as an important virus resource for study on poxvirus.”
The study was supported by several Chinese Communist Party-run scientific groups including the Chinese Academy of Sciences and military-linked entities including the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
The unearthed study follows the Wuhan Institute of Virology conducting similar research into strains of bat coronaviruses that could infect humans while admitting its facilities lacked proper laboratory safety protocols.