Earlier this week a group of researchers who altered the avian influenza virus, also known as H5N1 or "bird flu," to make it more contagious announced they would suspend their research for 60 days to give the research community time to discuss their work's implications. Their decision was explained in a letter published in Science and Nature.
In light of this development, we thought we'd share an image of two avian influenza A virons to give you an idea of what they look like. One thing to note is that this is not an image of the highly pathogenic strain the researchers were working on; instead, it is a transmission electron micrograph of H5N1 from the CDC Public Health Image Library. It depicts what the "bird flu" looks like at a magnification of 108,000x.
Photo by Cynthia Goldsmith and Jackie Katz is U.S. Government Work