Scientists have produced images of the novel coronavirus infecting lab-grown respiratory tract cells, findings that illustrate the number of virus particles that are produced and released per cell inside the lungs. The researchers from the University of North Carolina have captured these images to illustrate how intense SARS-CoV-2 infection of the airways can be in very graphic and easily understood images. The generated high-powered microscopic images show a large number of virus particles on human respiratory surfaces, ready to spread infection across tissues, and to other people.
According to the scientists, the large viral burden is a source for spread of infection to multiple organs of an infected individual, and likely mediates the high frequency of COVID-19 transmission to others. They said the images make a strong case for the use of masks by infected and uninfected individuals to limit SARS-CoV-2 transmission.