New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: A team of American researchers have published striking images of novel coronavirus-infected respiratory tract cells using high-powered scanning electron microscopy. The re-colourised images show infected hairy ciliated cells with strands of mucus attached to cilia tips.

The image, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, were captured by Camille Ehre from the University of North Carolina (UNC) Children's Research Institute, by inoculating SARS-CoV-2 into human bronchial epithelial cells of the lungs and later examining it for 96 hours using scanned electron microscopy, as per a report by news agency PTI.

The virus particles shown in the image are the complete infectious form of SARS-CoV-2 released onto respiratory surfaces by infected host cells, the researchers, said, adding that the images will illustrate the incredibly high number of virions produced and released per cell inside the human respiratory system.

The images show infected hairy ciliated cells with strands of mucus attached to cilia tips. Cilia are small, slender, hair-like structures present on the surface of all mammalian cells. They play a major role in locomotion and transport mucus and trapped viruses from the lungs.

The virus, which first originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected nearly 2.9 crore people and killed over 9 lakh. In India, the virus has infected as many as 47 lakh people and claimed 78 thousand lives.

The images illustrate how intense SARS-CoV-2 infection of the airways can be. They will make a strong case for the use of masks to curb the spread of virus, the researchers said.

Posted By: Lakshay Raja