My god… Its full of FILAMENTS!

If you watch the late night talk shows in the US, you probably heard about this research– Turns out the ‘new’ swine flu looks, structurally, a hellovalot like the 1918 flu. People who were born before 1918 had antibodies in their serum that could neutralize the new swine flu. Enter the late night comedians: “If swine flu turns into an epidemic, thank God the 92 year olds will survive!”

But just because swine flu looks like 1918 flu doesnt mean its as bad. It means that swine flu might not be ‘brand new’– its probably the great great second cousin three times removed of the 1918 flu. Just chillin in some other animal for a while.

So while swine flu isnt 1918 flu, even though they look alike to your antibodies, you probably should get the flu shot this year. It could figure out how to act like 1918 in the Southern Hemisphere this summer, and be a bastard in the Northern Hemisphere this winter, or it might do nothing. Might as well get it.

Now, heres what I think is omg friggen cool– I know I said in my chat with Conspiracy Skeptic that pics of viruses arent as important as HIV Deniers want them to be? Wed still have a boatload of HIV-1 research even if we never actually ‘saw’ the viruses. Well, now I just got pwned by Itoh et al. OMG. Their pics BLEW MAH MIND.


Okay, so everybody ‘knows’ viruses are little spheres. See? Heres influenza:

Real world, theyre more like… potato sacks. Heres a pic from the paper:

Thats regular old seasonal influenza. Heres what it looks like budding from a cell, with scanning electron microscopy.

Awww! Little babby viruses budding from a host cell! Adorable!

Now, here is what swine flu looks like:

What?? WHAT?? What is that shit??? FILAMENTS??? WHAT? Lemme see that with scanning electron:

WHAT?? THATS INSANE! AAAH! Viruses dont look like that! Those arent pretty little soccer balls! WHAT??

Oh wait, some viruses really do look like that in real life. Like respiratory syncytial virus:

AH! SNAKE!! It took scientists a minute to accept the fact RSV could be filamentous. lol, they thought they were just messing up their protocols! “DAMMIT! Why do I keep getting this stupid tube shape when I try to assemble/visualize these viruses?!?!”

hehehehe. Stupid reality. Not conforming to our artistic renditions.

Comments

  1. #1 rrt
    July 28, 2009

    AHA! Proof of whatsername’s theory that all diseases are really caused by flukeworms!

  2. #2 dreikin
    July 28, 2009

    Cool. From the SEM, I wonder if the filamentous particles are a side effect of the virus trying to create bridges/pathways between cells in order to avoid the extracellular immune system. Kinda like what we saw with HIV not too long ago. It looks like the main() of the virus might be in the head of the outgrowths, rather than throughout like it seems to be in RCS.

  3. #3 minimalist
    July 28, 2009

    Nice image. RSV looks rather like dynamin tubules; is there any work that deals with the structural basis of those filaments?

  4. #4 Brian X
    July 28, 2009

    And now, a parody lyric, after J. Picking:

    herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes COLD GERM COLD GERM
    herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes COLD GERM COLD GERM
    herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes herpes COLD GERM COLD GERM
    FLU, IT’S THE FLU! OH, IT’S THE FLU!

  5. #5 Jon H
    July 28, 2009

    OMG!!!!1! You’ve found the morgellons!

    NOTE: I’M KIDDING

  6. #6 Thanny
    July 29, 2009

    Ebola and Marburg have the same shape, too.

  7. #7 Hank Roberts
    July 29, 2009

    Wonderful. Thank you. Keep showing us stuff we never imagined, this is great.

  8. #8 NickS
    July 30, 2009

    Neato.

    Only my uni doesn’t sub to Nature Advance :(

  9. #9 Whitecoat Tales
    July 30, 2009

    Am I the only one who loved the title-nerd joke?
    Kudos ERV, on the awesome reference.

  10. #10 Travis
    July 30, 2009

    Am I the only one who loved the title-nerd joke?
    Kudos ERV, on the awesome reference.

    No you are not the only person who thought of that. I am really wishing I mentioned it first though.

    I think I might go watch the scences when Heywood is on the way to the moon when I get home, I absolutely love those parts.

  11. #11 eddie
    July 30, 2009

    It looks kinda like that goo stuff the aliens used instead of flock wallpaper.
    Where’s Ripley when she’s needed?

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