Image of the Day: Coronavirus Under the Scope

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases releases a series of images that offer a close up look at the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Amy Schleunes
Feb 17, 2020

ABOVE: The SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus (yellow), isolated from a patient, emerges from cultured cells (blue and pink).

New scanning and transmission electron microscope images of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus taken at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Rocky Mountain Laboratories show the virus’s similarities to the viruses that caused a MERS outbreak in 2012 and a SARS outbreak in 2002, according to a NIAID blog post. “That is not surprising,” the post says. “The spikes on the surface of coronaviruses give this virus family its name—corona, which is Latin for ‘crown,’ and most any coronavirus will have a crown-like appearance.”

SARS-CoV-2 with its telltale crown-like spikes

See “Scientists Compare Novel Coronavirus with SARS and MERS Viruses

Amy Schleunes is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at

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New Studies Find Bio-Rad’s QX200 Droplet Digital PCR System Can Detect COVID-19 With Greater Sensitivity and Precision Than Other Existing Molecular Tests
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced that in two studies published this month, ahead of peer-review, researchers in China reported that Bio-Rad’s QX200 Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) System showed superior sensitivity and precision for clinical detection of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) compared to existing test methods that are performed using qPCR.