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Crowdsourcing the Virus


The Virus does not deserve a photo. Just words, mainly arranged in questions.

As signing up for an online course in virus genetic sequencing is not a priority right now, let's first stick to popular science. 

Even better, to what every possible outlet has written about its appearance: spherical, with leech-like tentacles. 

No idea how the crown analogy came about. I looked long and hard to find any connection or identify the spiky crown that gave it its name. That blob we all now recognise is full of spikes, true, but that's about it.

Anyway, it has a name which is not necessarily its important feature, IMHO. The package is far far more important. 

It is made of fat, "an envelope", as it's called.

Have all similar viruses a layer of fat?  Apparently yes, but why fat and not something else? Is it because fat is such a good preservative (think of meat kept for months in lard) ? Is it then a survival technique for the Virus, this insulation?

Is that why we need to wash our hands very carefully, with lots of soap?

Try getting rid of grease using just water.  If you would like to read a very detailed explanation,  have a look at this article from Vox.

I do not dare to learn more (yet) about its fantastically long genome (read more here, a New Scientist article)

It seems highly suspicious, though, that the Virus needs such so many combination of "letters" (they are the secret heart of the genetic code, apparently).

Covering all its bases, eh? 

Why don't scientists and researchers do the same, and use the good old tool of crowdsourcing an answer? 

Maybe a 10-year old will come up with something, as innocence brings up the inner genius more than anything else. Or someone else will provide an unexpected angle. 

It would not be easy to sift through the comments, I admit that. Still, if the world as we know is besieged by a fatty nano-sphere, it's time for some oblique thinking. 

Crowdsourcing anyone? After all, we've got the internet and last time I looked, didn't see any Virus out there, apart from your usual computer virus. 


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