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Useful information about the new coronavirus

As the Covid19 pandemic progresses, we learn more and more about SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid19.

Here is a collection of links to useful websites that explain what the virus looks like, how it works, how to test for it, what treatments and vaccines are being developed, and more.

Contact us with any suggestions to improve or add to this page at biochemistry@otago.ac.nz.

What does the coronavirus look like and how does it work?

Link to electron micrograph of coronavirus

Fighting the invisible enemy

Article featuring beautiful images of the new coronavirus taken using electron microscopes in Australia. (ABC News, 28 April 2020)

Link to visual guide to coronavirus

A visual guide to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus

Article explaining 'the inner workings of the pathogen that has infected the world'. (Scientific American, July 2020)

Link to eLife coronavirus info

Curious to know how the SARS-CoV-2 virus works?

Article summarising what we know so far about the basic properties of the virus and how it interacts with the body. (eLife, updated regularly)

Link to Nanographics coronavirus picture

The structure of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

Animation of a coronavirus and what it is made up of according to scientists. (Nanographics, 17 May 2020)
See also this coronavirus animation. (UKRI, 26 May 2020)

Link to three coronavirus protein structures

How structural biologists revealed the new coronavirus’s structure so quickly

Article about how scientists are figuring out what the coronavirus proteins look like and how they work. (C&EN, 2 May 2020)

Link to NYT coronavirus

Bad news wrapped in protein: inside the coronavirus genome

Article that lists all the proteins that makes up the coronavirus and describes what each protein looks like and does. (The New York Times, 3 April 2020)

Link to iconic coronavirus picture

The spiky blob seen around the world

Article about how a medical illustrator at the CDC helped to create the iconic representation of the novel coronavirus. (The New York Times, 1 April, 2020)

Link to coronavirus colouring in

How to draw the coronavirus

Article about how different artists have decided to make pictures of the coronavirus based on scientific information and artistic licence. (The Paris Review, 18 May 2020)

Link to cell types infected by coronavirus

Receptors for SARS-CoV-2 present in wide variety of human cells

Article about experiments that show that the COVID-19 illness affects not just the lungs but many different organs and cell types. (The Scientist, 29 April 2020)

Testing for Coronavirus

Covid19 nasopharynx swab_250

Coronavirus testing - how does it work?

Check out our explanation of how the coronavirus test in New Zealand works.

Link to guardian testing article

Coronavirus tests: how they work and what they show

Video about coronavirus tests. (The Guardian, 20 April 2020)

Link to nature testing article

Coronavirus and the race to distribute reliable diagnostics

Article about how international teams quickly made tests for the SARS-CoV-2 virus available at the beginning of the outbreak. (Nature Biotechnology, 19 February 2020)

Link to FIND

SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic pipeline

List of all SARS-CoV-2 tests commercially available or in development for the diagnosis of COVID-19 (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, updated regularly)

Link to quartz testing shortage article

Here are the coronavirus testing materials that are in short supply in the US

Article that describes the test for coronavirus and the materials needed for the test. (Quartz, March 26, 2020)

Link to crispr-cas test article

First CRISPR test for the coronavirus approved in the United States

Article about a new test for coronavirus that uses the gene editing technology CRISPR-Cas. (Nature, 8 May 2020)
You can also watch this video to understand how it works, or read about the details in this Nature journal paper or this protocol.

Link to verge antibody testing article

The disappointing truth about antibody testing

Article about how antibodies work, and whether tests for antibodies against coronavirus are useful. (The Verge, 7 May 2020)

Genetics of the Coronavirus

Link to nextstrain

Genomic epidemiology of novel coronavirus - global subsampling

Website that collects genome sequences of SARS-CoV-2 viruses from around the world, tracks the mutations that arise, and shows in pictures the evolutionary relationships of different strains as the pandemic continues. (Nextstrain, updated regularly)

Link to nextstrain NZ

The NZ strains: How the virus got here

Article describing the stories of how different strains of the coronavirus travelled to New Zealand. (Newsroom, 8 May 2020)

Link to atlantic mutation article

The problem with stories about dangerous coronavirus mutations

Article looking at the evidence behind claims that different strains of the new coronavirus exist and are more dangerous. (The Atlantic, 6 May 2020)

Link to covid-19 data portal

COVID-19 data portal

Website that lets researchers share SARS-CoV-2-related data, including virus sequences, virus protein structures, which types of cells the virus infects, and what these cells do when they are infected. (EMBL-EBI, updated regularly)

Possible coronavirus treatments and vaccines

Link to biorender list

COVID-19 vaccine & therapeutics tracker

Website that lists all vaccines and therapeutic drugs being developed for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). (BioRender, updated regularly)

Link to llama antibody article

How a llama can neutralise coronaviruses

A scientific paper describing how scientists isolated antibodies from a llama immunised with coronavirus spikes and used them to neutralise coronaviruses. (Cell, 5 May 2020) 

Other cool coronavirus stuff

Link to spinoff animations

The bumper Toby Morris & Siouxsie Wiles Covid-19 box set

Animations to help teach the community about the virus and what we need to do to stop infections, created by Toby Morris and Siouxsie Wiles. (The Spinoff, 19 May 2020)

Link to pdb101 coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus resources

Resources and 3D structures of COVID-19 proteins including posters, videos, and colouring in activities. (PDB-101, updated occasionally)

Link to nature coronavirus news

Coronavirus and COVID-19 updates

Website linking to the latest news and research highlights on the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. (Nature, updated regularly)

Link to ukri coronavirus

Coronavirus: the science explained

Website providing evidence and facts about the virus, the disease, the epidemic, and its control. (UKRI, updated regularly)