The coronavirus has marked our lives for the last two years. To most people he is still something abstract, something I can’t see.
A group of researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and their work (which is still awaiting review and approval for publication in professional journals) could change the way we think about coronavirus. Namely, thanks to improvements they devised and introduced into the technique of observing things with a microscope, called expansion microscopy, they were able to see (and then take) very detailed 3D photographs showing how the SARS-CoV-2 virus (which causes COVID-19 disease) ) enters the cells of the human respiratory system and infects them.
Their improvement allowed them to magnify an object that is only 20 nanometers through a microscope ten times, so they could clearly see only 100 nanometers of coronavirus.
In addition to making the photos impressive to look at, this way of observing could help scientists discover how to safely and effectively stop the entry of the SARS-CoV-2 virus into the human body.
Namely, the photographs show a number of ways in which the coronavirus alters and deforms infected cells during its proliferation. The researchers found that the coronavirus, after infecting the host cell and multiplying to its extremes, “digs” its way out of the cells with its peak protein.