June Almeida

The contributions of June Almeida in diagnostic use of electron microscopy which has helped in the early detection of the SARS CoV 2 is being discussed.

About

June Almeida is a Scottish virologist born in 1930 in Glasgow. She became a pioneer in viral identification, imaging and diagnosis despite having little formal education. She had even discovered a new type of coronavirus in her time. She was one of the contributors to WHO’s 1979 manual for rapid laboratory viral diagnosis.

Electron Microscopy Technique

Almeida developed a technique of viral imaging using electron microscopy. It involved a process called negative staining. In this method, the viruses to be imaged were introduced to antibodies resulting in binding. The background was then stained. This made the unstained specimen stand out and thus improved visibility in images. This technique is of significant importance in diagnosis.

Viruses Identified

Using the electron microscopy technique, Almeida was able to visualise the rubella virus for the first time and also discovered a new coronavirus. It was also used in distinguishing the components on hepatitis B virus. She also contributed in imaging the HIV virus.

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