Images of Coronavirus Infecting Cells in Lungs Captured
Images of SARS-CoV-2 infecting lab-grown respiratory tract cells have been captured by researchers, which demonstrate the number of coronavirus particles that are produced and released per cell in the lungs.
The images were captured by a team of researchers from the University of North Carolina (UNC) Children’s Research Institute, to show how intense the novel coronavirus infection in the airways can be. The images are easily understandable and very graphic.
A large number of virus particles in human respiratory surfaces, ready to spread the infection to other people and across tissues, are shown through the high-powered microscopic images.
The scientists, in their research, introduced the coronavirus into bronchial epithelial cells of the human lungs. The images were captured using high-powered scanning electron microscopy after 96 hours. Researchers said that these virus particles are in the complete infectious form, which is released by infected host cells onto respiratory surfaces.
The New England Journal of Medicine published the images which show infected hairy ciliated cells with the cilia tips attached to mucus.
The hair-like structures on the surface of airway epithelial cells, called cilia, transport trapped viruses and mucus from the lungs, explained the researchers.
They showed the density and structure of coronavirus produced by human airway epithelia using a higher power magnification.
The incredibly huge number of virions produced and released per cell inside the human lungs can be demonstrated with the help of the imaging research.
The large viral burden is a source of a high frequency of COVID-19 transmission to others and mediates the spread of infection to multiple organs of an infected individual, said the researchers.
The images strongly demonstrate how important is it for infected and uninfected people to wear masks to limit COVID-19 transmission.