With so much news about the coronavirus, it's important to know how the virus can infect you, and in worst case scenario's, kill you.
COVID-19 is a real threat, and usually you wouldn't think something that is only 125 nanometers wide is a threat, but it actually is. Being only 125 nanometers wide means that around 800 of them can fit in the width of a single human hair, and it only takes one of them to become infected. So how does this work exactly? Well, once the virus has entered your body it hooks to specific cell receptors, latching itself onto that cell.
Then it hijacks that cell's plan to replicate itself, and begins to replicate the virus instead. This process actually kills the host cell, but all the replicated cells that host cell produced are actually virus cells and they go on to infect other cells. This process is repeated until the immune system can successfully battle the virus out of the system and stop the replication. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) was able to capture an image of COVID-19 shedding, which is the process of the virus hijacking a host cell, replicating itself, and then killing the host cell.
The above image is literally the process that is killing thousands of people across the planet.
The image was captured using a scanning microscope (SEM) to capture the particles. Here's how it works:
"SEM enables visualization of particles, including viruses, that are too small to be seen with traditional light microscopy. It does so by focusing electrons, instead of light, into a beam that scans the surface of a sample that's first been dehydrated, chemically preserved, and then coated with a thin layer of metal. As electrons bounce off the sample's surface, microscopists such as Fischer are able to capture its precise topology."
"The result is a gray-scale micrograph like the one you see above on the left. To make the image easier to interpret, [Elizabeth] Fischer hands the originals off to [Rocky Mountain Laboratories] RML's Visual Medical Arts Department, which uses colorization to make key features pop like they do in the image on the right."
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