Living in a Hot Zone

The pathology department at the University of Hong Kong is one of the few places on Earth where you can stare death in the face. In the department's lab, a transmission electron microscope capable of magnifying an image up to 150,000 times is being used to view a never-before-seen virus that researchers now believe has killed at least 55 people worldwide and infected more than 1,500. Illuminated on a green phosphorescent screen by a beam of electrons and viewed through an optical device that resembles an upside-down periscope, the virus—this particular specimen had...

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