The new images from the CDC Public Health Image Library (PHIL) show the SARS-CoV2 virus looking like small pepperoni pizzas (colored blue in the image above). However, viruses are simply too small to see using most conventional microscopes, so this technique is used mostly for bacterial and fungal infections.At the moment, SARS-CoV2, the coronavirus causing the worldwide pandemic, is detected using a PCR test, which looks for traces of the virus genetic information in samples taken from people with suspected COVID-19. The new images are taken by microscopes which use electrons and magnets to focus and produce images, rather than light and glass lenses found in most conventional microscopes.The scanning electron microscopy images let us see the overall 3D structure of the COVID-19 viruses which include the nucleocapsid protein (N-protein), and a slight fuzz that is the spike protein (explained in this article) on the outside of the coat,” said Jones. The CDC images are not the first electron microscope images of the virus, with these first coming out in February, courtesy of the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
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