The Birth of a Virus, Photographed for First Time

We've long used various methods, such as cell freezing, to analyze the rise of viruses as they convert happy cells into destruction production facilities. But now, for the first time ever, scientists have found a technique to watch viruses grow in real time. As Rockefeller University virologist explained, "This is the first time anyone has seen a virus particle being born."

The method uses what we assume is a semi-standard optical microscope. However, as opposed to shining light straight-on at the cells, the light penetrates from a sharp angle allowing the close study of the cell's membrane (this particular cell is being infected with HIV). In addition, some particles appear to be fluorescently tagged. A single virion (mature virus) was recorded to take 5-6 minutes to be produced. [Nature via Wired]