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Infectious Diseases

Updated 15 May 2020

SEE: This is what the coronavirus looks like at an atomic level - according to a 3D model

Scientists who previously created 3D models of the Ebola, HIV, and flu viruses, have created a model of the new coronavirus virus at atomic resolution. See what it looks like.

The new coronavirus, named SARS-CoV-2, received its name for its crown-like spikes on its surface which can be seen under a microscope. However, according to a news release by EurekAlert, scientists from the biomedical visualisation studio, Visual Science, have recently created a three-dimensional (3D) model of the virus at atomic resolution, which allows for the incredible ability to view individual atoms. 

To create an accurate model, the team of scientists and CGI specialists used the latest scientific research that looks at the structure of coronaviruses, and communicated with virologists currently working with SARS-CoV-2. Apart from their recent model, they also previously created models of Ebola, HIV, Zika and flu viruses. Their HIV virion model was awarded first place at the 2010 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge (SEVC), according to EurekAlert.

“It [the model] shows, in great detail, the intact particle with its spike glycoproteins embedded in the membrane. A cutaway view reveals the viral nucleocapsid inside the particle. 

“These gorgeous images will enhance our understanding of the virus particle, and for the non-scientist will make even more palpable the virus that is infecting millions of people," Professor Vincent Racaniello at the Department of Microbiology & Immunology of Columbia University, New York, said.

SARS-CoV-2

SARS-CoV-2 main model look. Image credit: Visual Science

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Image credit: Visual Science