Terrifying photo of killer virus attacking
It's killed more than 1700 people in the space of just two months - and now scientists have discovered exactly what the deadly COVID-19 virus looks like.
Researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have released a series of haunting images of the virus.
One of the photos shows a cluster of the virus cells invading the cells of a patient in the US. Another, a fiery blood-red image, shows the virus cells "emerging" from within the patient's own cells.
The striking photos, which were taken by the Montana-based experts using a variety of scanning and transmission electron microscopes, are our first glimpse at what the killer disease looks like.
Some have been quick to comment on the newly released images on Twitter.
it looks harmless— Dionysius the Areopagite 🌙🌵🐪 (@fishbob_pantsov) February 15, 2020
Wow !!— Ivonne Sosa San Martín 🇨🇱🇵🇪 (@IvonneSosaSanM1) February 14, 2020
extremely dangerous beauty— Steffi Lee (@steffileetw) February 15, 2020
Since December, the infectious disease - also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease - that originated in Wuhan, China, has been spreading around the globe rapidly.
Earlier today, the death toll jumped from 1665 to more than 1770, according to health authorities in China's Hubei province, where the virus first emerged.
It brought the death toll in mainland China to 1765 and the global number of fatalities to 1770.
More than 71,200 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide, with the number of infected passing 70,000 in mainland China alone.
Researchers at South China University of Technology believe they have pinpointed the source of the deadly virus to the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a published paper, the researchers speculated it was the possible source because it "hosted animals in laboratories for research purposes", including bats, and was "within 280 metres of the Huanan Seafood Market where a number of early infections were reported".
Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao, who wrote the paper titled The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus, explained that "41 people in Wuhan were found to have the acute respiratory syndrome and 27 of them had contact with Huanan Seafood Market".