China’s state-run Global Times newspaper celebrated on Thursday the alleged discovery of a scientific process to create a “humanized pig” more susceptible to severe Chinese coronavirus cases, which scientists could infect and use for research.
The propaganda outlet attributed the scientific achievement to the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMCAS). The CAS, a research institution, is the world’s largest organization of its kind and a formal arm of the Chinese government. The Times published an illustrative figure on the development of “humanized” pigs that appears to have first surfaced in a study published in August that promoted the use of genetically modified pigs for Chinese coronavirus research based on how rapidly scientists could generate them and their heightened similarities with the human body.
The August study – published in Cell Discovery, a journal sponsored by the CAS, revealed that Chinese scientists had attempted to use CRISPR gene-editing technology to remove the genetic protective shields that make Chinese coronavirus not a significant threat to most pigs. CRISPR technology became the source of global controversy in 2018 after a Chinese scientist, He Jiankui, claimed to have used the method to genetically modify unborn baby twins to make them immune to HIV. The Communist Party sentenced He to three years in prison for conducting the human experiment without the full approval of the Party.