Scientists Photograph Omicron Variant For 1st Time

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Omicron:  at the University of Hong Kong were able to capture for the first time the image of the omicron variant of the coronavirus with the help of an electron microscope, the institution said in a statement on Wednesday (8). According to the press release, two main records of a laboratory culture of the virus were made, one at low and one at high magnification.

Since the announcement of its discovery on Nov. 25 in Botswana, the omicron variant of the coronavirus, considered “of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO), has been detected in at least 50 countries, according to CNN. What is currently being discussed is the extent to which existing vaccines can be effective against this new strain. Experts say that further research must be carried out in this regard.

The images of the omicron variant

In the image on the left, the result of a low-magnification electron micrograph, it is possible to see a cutout of a monkey kidney cell, intentionally infected with the omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Cell damage can be seen in swollen (bubble-shaped) vesicles filled with tiny black viral particles.

The image on the right shows a high magnification electron micrograph of the same cell, but showing the closest viral particles (within the pink square). Looking closely, it is possible to see the coronavirus crown, formed by the S protein, around the viral particle.

The images were taken by Professors John Nicholls, Malik Peiris and Tam Wah-Ching using resources from the HKUMed Electron Microscopy Unit.