Scientists from the University of Hong Kong (China) have obtained a microphoto of the omicron strain of coronavirus, the agency reported this Wednesday through a release.
The researchers took an electron micrograph of a kidney cell from a monkey infected with the omicron variant.
On the left, the cell damage caused by the infection is seen, in the form of swollen vesicles containing small black viral particles. On the right, a larger zoom on the photo allows you to distinguish groups of viral particles with crown-shaped spikes on the surface (framed in red).
Detected for the first time in November on the African continent, the variant B.1.1.529 of coronavirus was named with the Greek omicron by the WHO, which described it as “worrying”. By last Saturday, the presence of the strain had been found in 38 countries.
The omicron strain has a large number of mutations, of which more than 30 are found in the area that encodes the spike protein, which allows it to bind to human cells. This component of the virus is the main target of the antibodies that are produced to fight infection. So scientists fear that such changes may have made the virus more transmissible and weaken the effect of vaccines.