coronavirus cells

The moment that coronavirus infects a healthy cell has been captured under a microscope for the first time.

Researchers from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil have used a powerful electron microscope to capture photos of the exact moment the SARS-COV-2 virus takes over healthy cells.

In the study, the researchers used cells isolated from the African green monkey.

The scientists used viruses isolated from samples collected from the nose and throat of an infected patient to observe the monkey cells being infected.

The team, led by Débora Barreto, explained: “Infected cells are taken to a laboratory where they are inspected under a an electron microscope – to capture the moment of infection.”

“Once the virus’ RNA has entered a cell, new copies are made and the cell is killed in the process, releasing new viruses to infect neighbouring cells in the alveolus.

“The process of hijacking cells to reproduce causes inflammation in the lungs, which triggers an immune response. As this process unfolds, fluid begins to accumulate in the alveoli, causing a dry cough and making breathing difficult.

“In the most severe cases, systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) occurs as the protein-rich fluid from the lungs enters the bloodstream, resulting in septic shock and multi-organ failure.

“This is often the cause of death for people who have succumbed to a Covid-19 infection.”