NewsThis is what the coronavirus really looks like

This is what the coronavirus really looks like

Created: 09/26/2022, 1:55 p.m

Corona-Virus: So sieht das Virus wirklich aus.
The Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus. © Janet Iwasa / University of Utah & Coronavirus Structural Task Force

Researchers have now found that the corona virus looks different than was first assumed.

Frankfurt/Kassel – It has been keeping the world in suspense since 2020: the corona virus. Round and covered with many spikes, such images of the pathogen are often found in our everyday life. Scientists have now examined the appearance of the corona virus again more closely – with surprising results.

Because the researchers of the Coronavirus Structural Task Force have come to the conclusion that the illustrations of the corona virus as we know them are not entirely correct. On the website of the project, which is funded by the University of Hamburg and the Ministry of Education and Research, there is even a corona virus print template for a 3D printer. With this, inquisitive people can recreate the virus in its updated form themselves.

date Number of corona cases in Germany
December 31, 2020 1,719,737
June 30, 2021 3,728,141
December 30, 2021 7.109.182
June 30, 2022 28.180.861
September 26, 2022 (current) 32.952.050
Source: Robert Koch Institute

Corona: At the beginning, findings from the SARS-CoV-1 virus served as a model

At the beginning of the corona pandemic, the depiction of the corona virus was primarily based on the existing knowledge about other corona viruses. The SARS-CoV-1 virus was a role model here, as the Coronavirus Structural Task Force writes.

In the time since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, many new findings and images have been added. Combining these results in a different picture than initially assumed.

Corona pandemic: The virus is not perfectly round

One of the new findings is that although the virus forms in an almost perfect sphere, it deforms when it comes into contact with other substances. As a result, the updated form of the virus is no longer perfectly round, according to the Coronavirus Structural Task Force .

Another crucial aspect is the size of the virus. SARS-CoV-2 appears to be smaller than other corona viruses. The task force therefore reduced the diameter of their model by 12 percent.

Corona virus: This is what the new model looks like

The spikes on its surface are characteristic of the corona virus. While the first model contained around 100 spikes, the latest findings have drastically reduced the number. In addition, the spike proteins are not vertical, as initially assumed, but at an angle of 40 percent on average, as reported by the knowledge magazine Scinexx .

The new model only has 26 so-called spike proteins, explains the Coronavirus Structural Task Force . The large, round virus model with many red spines has now (at least in this representation) become a smaller, non-round corona virus with a few green spines. There are always new scientific findings about the corona virus. A study recently found out how well a booster vaccination can really protect. (lm)

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