SARS-CoV-2: Up close

A diagram of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Last updated on October 9th, 2021 at 02:22 am

The genetic blueprint material for SARS-CoV-2 is called RNA (yellow spirals). The RNA contains information to specify the amino acids that make up the proteins, which are the actual building blocks for the virus particle.

The RNA is protected in the virus envelope (black outer ring) until a potential host cell is found. The envelope is made up of several proteins, including envelope protein (blue spikes); membrane protein (yellow spikes); and spike glycoprotein or spike protein (red, tall spike).

The spike glycoprotein helps the virus latch onto and gain entry into the host cell, so that the virus can infect the cell.

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