Tracking a virus on contact with the cell it will infect
Trying to keep track of a tiny virus as it touches down and burrows into a cell is a bit like chasing a small green ball while it zooms erratically around an entire football pitch. Virus particles are small and disperse widely on entry to the environment. As a result, there are gaps in what we know about the first moments of infection. But a new study has managed to track an individual virus particle as it traverses the cell surface, with live feedback keeping focus on the virus’ journey like an individual ‘player cam’ on football coverage. This new footage showed the virus skimming across the cell surface, testing multiple intermittent contacts in search of the ideal spot (recreation pictured, with surface contacts highlighted in yellow and red). Further study revealed more details about virus-cell interaction that could ultimately lead to new ways to prevent viral infections altogether.
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