The Visual Science studio, in collaboration with researchers, has created the most detailed and scientifically accurate 3D model of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Last April, Brazilian researchers from the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (Fiocruz) shared images taken at the precise moment when the SARS-CoV-2 virus, responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, infects a host cell. A few days ago, an incredible photo, shared this time by an American laboratory, revealed a snapshot of the process in which the viral particles of SARS-CoV-2 are released from a dying cell.
A new video, the result of the collaboration between molecular biologists and the Visual Science studio, reveals an incredibly detailed three-dimensional vision of the virus today.
SARS-CoV-2 as you’ve never seen it before
The model presented below is the most precise to date, based on all of the scientific information published. Starting with its known structure and its components, referenced in the Protein Data Bank, a global collection of data on the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules: proteins, essentially, and nucleic acids.
Virologists from the main laboratories working with the structural biology of coronaviruses were also consulted, thus helping to make this model scientifically precise.
“The model reflects current understanding of the architecture of the virus,” said Ivan Konstantinov, CEO of Visual Science. To obtain this resolution, the studio explains using the same structural bioinformatics techniques used in basic research and the development of drugs.
The viral particle presented above, which measures around 125 nanometers in diameter, reveals its advanced proteins to us. An average particle of SARS-CoV-2 has about 90. These are the proteins that will allow the virion to fuse with the host cell, thereby triggering infection.
The video also surrounds us with an RNA molecule, matrix proteins, which bind the viral envelope to the virus itself, or nucleocapsid proteins, which condition the RNA of the viral genome.
Dr. Jason S. McLellan, Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences at the University of Texas (United States), said he was very impressed with this work. ” It’s really well made. Advanced proteins are indeed as accurate as they can be given our current knowledge. These images are striking. ”
For Vincent Racaniello, from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Columbia University in New York, “these magnificent images will undoubtedly improve our understanding of the viral particle, and for non-scientists, will make the virus even more palpable. infects millions of people today, “he said.