Intruders stalk their prey with stealth and precision, preparing to pierce the quarry’s armor. Once inside, the invader forces its host to create more intruders, and then causes it to explode, spewing countless invaders that can continue to rampage on a wider scale.
The film is depicted in a microscopic video of SARS-CoV-2 infecting bat brain cells, providing an opportunity for the pathogen to turn the cell into a virus factory before causing the host cell to die. .
The video was made by Sophie-Marie Aicher and Delphine Planas, virologists at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, who won an honor in a microscope video competition sponsored by the photography company Nikon.
Filmed over 48 hours with images recorded every 10 minutes, the footage shows the coronavirus as red blobs circulating among a mass of gray blobs – bat brain cells. After they were infected, the bat’s cells began to fuse with neighboring cells. At some point, this entire mass breaks apart, resulting in the death of the cells.
Ms Aicher, who specializes in zoonotic diseases – diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans – said the contagion is the same in bats and humans, with one key difference: Bats last. not sick.
In humans, coronaviruses can evade detection and cause more damage in part by preventing infected cells from alerting the immune system to the presence of invaders. But its particular strength is its ability to force host cells to merge with neighboring cells, a process known as syncytosis that allows the coronavirus to go undetected as it multiplies.
“Every time a virus has to get out of a cell, it runs the risk of being detected so if it can go straight from cell to cell, it can work much faster,” Aicher said.
She said she hopes the video will help shed light on the virus and make it easier for people to understand and appreciate this enemy of deception that has killed billions of lives.
“It’s important to help people get past the scientific jargon to understand that this is a very sophisticated and intelligent virus that is well-adapted to cause disease in humans,” she said.