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First Photos of Avian Flu Virus

Published måndag 7 november 2005 kl 13.20

The first high-resolution close-up photographs of the H5N1 avian flu virus to be taken by a scanning electro microscope appeared in the daily ”Dagens Nyeter” on Sunday, in what the newspaper said was a world exclusive.

The photos, taken by science photographer Lennart Nilsson, show the virus as a string of blue balls attacking and destroying healthy pink cells.

The newspaper says the 83-year-old photographer had initially approached US laboratories for a sample of the virus but was turned down. In the end he obtained samples from the World Health Organisation which were then cultivated at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute.

Nilsson then photographed the virus using images from a powerful microscope. The H5N1 sample had come from a father and daughter who died from the virus in Hong Kong two years ago.

It was Nilsson who first photographed the moment of human conception, published in a book in 1965 called ”A Child is Born”.

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