27 September 2021

Defective mice

Novosibirsk mice do not want to get infected with coronavirus

"New Siberia"

Novosibirsk scientists have not been able to infect specially bred mice with coronavirus for a year and a half. Nevertheless, geneticists do not stop experiments, – head of the laboratory of the Novosibirsk Institute of Cytology and Genetics Nariman Battulin says that a new batch of transgenic mice has been born and it will be transferred to Vector very soon, where an attempt will be made to use another method of gene planting.

In Novosibirsk, geneticists have been breeding special mice capable of carrying coronavirus for testing new vaccines for a long time. Ordinary mice are not afraid of the virus, but for experiments, a special kind of rodents are bred that can become infected. Nariman Battulin reported this a year ago:

– The bottom line is that we take the human protein through which the virus enters the cell. And we transfer the gene of this protein into the mouse genome. Thus, it turns out that we insert a protein that ensures the penetration of the virus, and the mice become susceptible.

In other words, the so-called humanized mice are useful because a mutation in their genes causes consequences similar to human ones.

The problem seemed even more solvable after the Rosselkhoznadzor confirmed the case of a single infection of COVID 19 of a domestic cat from a human, but they did not dare to use humanized cats for genetics experiments: they expected that they would soon receive thousands of susceptible mice that could be useful for testing.

According to KP-Novosibirsk, at some point Novosibirsk experimenters even started posting videos on Youtube to share their successes with the whole world. But it soon turned out that the experiments got an unexpected twist.

– According to our calculations, if a mouse gets sick with coronavirus, then its body weight will have to decrease every day, – the institute staff explained in the TV program "Something went wrong", - but the animals felt good. We call the Vector laboratory, and they tell us that our mice have not lost weight, but on the contrary, they have recovered. We blamed everything on a change in nutrition, they say, let the mice eat before they die. And after a while it turned out that the rodents were not infected at all.

Perhaps scientists have chosen the wrong control unit for the gene. Human cells were grown in a Petri dish and a gene was attached to them – and all the processes were perfect there. But later it turned out that if the same gene goes through individual development, it can stall – that is, it simply won't work.

To date, the experiment of Novosibirsk scientists has not ended with anything yet, but there are certain hopes for success.

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