Sophie-Marie Aicher and Delphine Planas of the Department of Virology of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, captured footage of the COVID-19 virus infection causing cell fusion and cell death in the brains of bats (Myotis myotis).
In the video clip, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is shown to infect bat brain cells engineered to express human ACE2 enzyme on its cell membrane, which is the entry point of the coronavirus into the cell. The COVID-19 virus infection triggered syncytia, or cell fusion, as part of the virus' evasion of the immune system response, and led to cell death (the red spots) in just 48 hours.
This video won Honorable Mention in the 2021 Nikon Small World In Motion competition.
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View the full clip below.