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Tech & Science This Is What The COVID-19 Virus Looks Like Under The Microscope

15:00  14 february  2020
15:00  14 february  2020 Source:   sciencealert.com

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What you're seeing above is a scanning electron microscope image in false colour, showing the COVID - 19 virus from a patient in the US; the viral particles are coloured yellow as it emerges from the surface of a cell, which is coloured blue and pink.

COVID - 19 coronavirus is seen in yellow, emerging from cells (in blue and pink) cultured in the lab. This image is from a scanning electron microscope . But new images of the virus show us what it looks like up close. These images were made using scanning and transmission electron microscopes at

  This Is What The COVID-19 Virus Looks Like Under The Microscope © NIAID-RML

Having caused an extensive health scare and over 1,000 deaths so far, the COVID-19 virus (also unofficially known as 2019-nCoV) has received wide media coverage since its discovery in December last year.

But although microbiologists around the world have been using the virus to try and develop a vaccine, many of us non-scientists haven't actually seen what this new coronavirus looks like.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' (NIAID) Rocky Mountains Laboratories (RML) have just released scanning and transmission electron microscope images of the coronavirus, and they're... surprisingly aesthetically pleasing.

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Coronavirus disease named Covid - 19 . 11 February 2020. The virus itself has been designated SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses . Researchers have been calling for an official name to avoid confusion and stigmatisation of any group or country.

The new coronavirus, now known as Covid - 19 , was first encountered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Like other coronaviruses, it originated in Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases there can be organ failure. As this is viral

(NIAID-RML)

What you're seeing above is a scanning electron microscope image in false colour, showing the COVID-19 virus from a patient in the US; the viral particles are coloured yellow as it emerges from the surface of a cell, which is coloured blue and pink.

(NIAID-RML)

The image above was captured with a transmission electron microscope. This isn't quite as sharp as the first one, but you can see the spikes on the surface of the virus (which gives the coronavirus its name, meaning 'crown').

If these look a little familiar, it's because most coronaviruses – such as SARS and MERS - look similar on the outside, sharing the bump-covered spherical appearance.

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Image: This is what the virus looks like under the microscope . This is substantially less that the 14,800 cases and 240 deaths recorded a day earlier, when officials in the region began diagnosing COVID - 19 , the disease which is caused by the coronavirus, using new clinical methods.

Coronavirus disease 2019 ( COVID - 19 ), also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), and novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP)

Viruses in the coronavirus family only have small differences in their genome, with only five nucleotide differences between three of the viruses. Nevertheless, the viruses can have notably different presentations when it comes to infecting humans.

(NIAID-RML)

The images you see here were the result of collaborative teamwork. RML investigator Emmie de Wit provided the virus, microscopist Elizabeth Fischer produced the images, with the visual medical arts office colourising the images.

You can see the entire set on Flickr here.

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