Montana lab releases new images of coronavirus
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Montana lab releases new images of coronavirus

New images of the novel coronavirus were released Friday from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana.

RML’s Laboratory of Virology received its first sample of the 2019 novel coronavirus last week, joining a worldwide effort to combat it.

China’s National Health Commission, using a new way of counting the cases of the illness now known officially as COVID-19, put confirmed cases of the virus at 63,851 in the mainland, with a death toll of 1,380 Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Worldwide, more than 580 cases of the illness have been confirmed outside mainland China, with three deaths as of Friday. Also Friday, Gallatin County reported that a person in Bozeman had tested negative for the disease.

A blog post on the NIAID’s website said that Rocky Mountain Laboratories produced the images of the novel coronavirus on its scanning and transmission electron microscopes on Tuesday. The images were isolated from a patient in the United States.

“RML investigator Emmie de Wit, Ph.D., provided the virus samples as part of her studies, microscopist Elizabeth Fischer produced the images, and the RML visual medical arts office digitally colorized the images," according to the blog post.

The post noted the seven images' similarities to those of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus), which emerged in 2012, and the original SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus), which emerged in 2002.

"That is not surprising," it said. "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.

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