Scientists reveal process of cellular infection by coronavirus; see images

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Brazilian scientists recorded in microscopy images the details of the coronavirus infection process in cells. For the study, Vero cells were used, widely studied in understanding the mechanisms of viral infection and in the development of potential treatments against diseases.

The study, led by the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC/Fiocruz), was published in the scientific journal Viruses. In the article, the researchers reveal how the virus invades the cell, in addition to identifying where important stages of viral replication occur and the moment of release of new viral particles, capable of infecting other cells.

The photos and videos also showed details of the changes caused by the coronavirus in the cellular structure, which favor the infectious process, often causing damage to cellular functions and harmful impacts to the body (see images below ).

The images were obtained using state-of-the-art microscopes available at the National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (Inmetro) and at the National Center for Structural Biology and Bioimaging at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Cenabio/UFRJ).

The equipment uses a technique called triple ion beam scanning, producing three-dimensional images with a resolution of one nanometer, which corresponds to 1 millimeter divided by 1 million.


The Cenabio equipment used in the research, on the other hand, allows the structures to be seen in ultra-thin cutting planes, with a resolution of 0.45 nanometers. For comparison, a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick. The coronavirus is, on average, 76 nanometers in diameter, according to measurements carried out by scientists.


According to the study coordinator, Débora Ferreira Barreto Vieira, the work gathers knowledge about the infection process and can contribute to the development of new therapies.

“We need models in vitro well characterized to develop drugs that act at different stages of the viral cycle. In this study, we were able to describe the replicative cycle of SARS-CoV-2 in Vero cells, with details and high quality”, says the Fiocruz scientist in a statement.

The work had the participation of researchers from the Laboratory of Viral Morphology and Morphogenesis of the IOC/Fiocruz and from the Respiratory and Measles Virus and Immunopharmacology laboratories of the Institute. The research also had the collaboration of specialists from the Inmetro Microscopy Laboratory Nucleus, the Center for Technological Development in Health (CDTS/Fiocruz) and UFRJ.

Source: CNN Brasil

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