Scientists at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) have released a detailed image of the virus H3N2 strain that causes influenza.
A similar virus was the causal organism of the pandemic Spanish Flu, which killed around 50 to 100 million people during 1918 to 1920.
In the same sample of the virus isolate, five different virus particles were detected. Visualization of the spatial arrangement of different molecules was also taken.
This breakthrough can help scientists study the different features of deadly virus strains. It can also help them understand how they infect the human body, as well as understand the defense offered by the human body.
Says Dr Stephen I. Katz, NIAMS Director," Being able to visualize influenza virus particles should boost our efforts to prepare for a possible pandemic flu attack. This work will allow us to 'know our enemy' much better."
The image was taken by a novel, three-dimensional imaging method called electron tomography.
This is based on the same principle as the well-known clinical imaging technique, but it is performed in an electron microscope on a microminiaturized scale.