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Researchers take first 3D photo of coronavirus

January 20, 2021

So this is what you look like! Until now, there have only been computer graphics of the coronavirus. Now, Austrian researchers have photographed SARS-CoV-2 for the first time in 3D.

The first 3D photo of coronavirus
Researchers have succeeded in taking the first 3D photo of coronavirusImage: Peter Mindek/Nanographics/apa/dpa/picture alliance

This picture is taken from 3-D images of real SARS-CoV-2 virus  from snap-frozen samples. They come from the company Nanographics, a spin-off of the Vienna University of Technology. They are based on data from researchers at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

The Chinese scientists had succeeded in extracting, scanning and digitizing intact SARS-CoV-2 virus particles in samples. In the process, the scientists managed to preserve the spike proteins of the virus samples in their structure as best as possible.

On the nanographics images, the coronavirus samples are closely packed together, but individual viruses can also be viewed in isolation, in this 3D picture.