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Interesting Images of SARS COV-2 from NIH NIAID


The NIH has published some interesting images of SARS COV-2 attacking healthy cells.


The process by which SARS COV-2 attacks cells starts when the now well-known spike proteins on the surface of the virus attach to a complex sugar molecule on the cell wall known as heparan sulfate. Attachment of the spike protein to portions of the cell wall with heparan sulfate triggers a series of chemical reactions that causes the cell wall to open and engulf the virus particle.


From there, a series of around 20 chemical reactions occur that strip the virus particle of the protein and lipid shell and allow the virus RNA to engage the replication machinery of the infected cell causing the cell to reproduce many copies of the virus including the virus RNA, shell and spike proteins. Eventually the cell dies, but, in the mean time, it has greatly multiplied the number of nearly perfectly replicated virus particles that are then expelled into the body only to go on to repeat the process with other cells.

Below are images of intact isolated SARS COV-2 particles and images of the start of attacks on cells.


Isolated SARS COV-2 Virus Particles

Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.



Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.


The Start of the Attack

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (purple) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (yellow), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.



Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (greenish brown) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (pink), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.



Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a VERO E6 cell (blue) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (orange), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.



Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (blue) infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (red), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.



Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (green) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (purple), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.



Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH https://www.flickr.com/photos/nihgov/49731656128/in/photostream/


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