Researchers have revealed the face of the coronavirus that's caused a global pandemic.  

A team led by Glasgow University has created a 3D model of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the Covid-19 outbreak.

The project involved Annabel Slater, a freelance scientific illustrator, as well as scientists at MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research and experts from the School of Simulation and Visualisation at the GSA (SimVis).

You can see the visualisation by clicking here. 

 Slater said: “I think making scientific images into something 3D, opens up a whole new world of interaction, exploration and understanding.

"The science of a virus can be better understood by making the virus particle into something tangible and interactable.

"I hope these models of the SARS-CoV-2 virus particle will help people by making the invisible visible.”

Dr Ed Hutchinson, research fellow at the Centre for Virus Research, said it was very difficult to produce an illustration of the coronavirus.

“No single experiment can directly produce a detailed image of a SARS-CoV-2 virus particle," he continued.

"Not only are they incredibly small, like all viruses, but they are also irregular – every virus particle is slightly different from the next – and getting detailed information requires each component of the virus to be studied in isolation.

“Fortunately, for several years we’ve worked with students doing projects for the MSc in Medical Visualisation and Human Anatomy, including Naina Nair who developed one of the most detailed models of the influenza virus particles – which are also very irregular, and then found ways to use those models for science communication.

“When the current pandemic began, Annabel got in touch and asked if we could collaborate on a model of the SARS-CoV-2 virus particle.

"As a graduate of the MSc programme herself, she was able to quickly pick up the methods needed to build a model of the virus, working with us to interpret a set of data that combined the most up-to-date studies of SARS-CoV-2 with ‘missing information’ from studies of related viruses.”