(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers at the University of North Carolina have published images of cells infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The pictures are of amazing quality.
The unique images were created by Camille Ehre and her team from the laboratory of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Images taken with a powerful microscope showed how the SARS-CoV-2 virus multiplies on the surface of cells in the human respiratory tract.
The images were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Viral particles shown in red are ready to leave the human body and infect new people.
As Ere herself explained, she wanted to show with an illustrative example of how intense a respiratory tract infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be. Indeed, the photographs show how many new viral particles are produced and released by just one cell of the human respiratory system.
To obtain these images, scientists in a specially equipped laboratory of an appropriate level of safety infected the cells of the human bronchi with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. After 96 hours, samples were captured using scanning electron microscopy.
The images were then colored by medical student Cameron Morrison. The image shows infected cells with filaments of mucus (yellow-green) attached to the tips of the cilia (blue).
Cilia are hair-like structures on the surface of epithelial cells in the airways that redirect mucus (and the viruses it captures) from the lungs.
Recall that the greater the viral load (the number of viral particles created in the human body), the more the infection spreads to other organs of the sick person. Also, doctors do not exclude that patients with a high viral load are more likely to transmit COVID-19 to other people (that is, they are so-called super-distributors).
These images provide another compelling argument for the use of masks by infected and non-infected people to limit the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
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