1930 - 2007

First coronavirus

In these pandemic times, we remember the virologists June Almeida, who identified the first coronavirus.

Working with electron microscopes, June Almeida developed a new technique to facilitate the observation of viruses. She used antibodies from previously infected people to mark the corresponding virus. She was able to describe the structure of numerous viruses, for example, rubella.

Invited to study samples from a flu-like virus that others were struggling to identify, she managed to visualize it and compare it to previously observed viruses with similar appearance and not yet labelled. It was therefore identified as a new type of virus, and named corona due to its appearance of a crown.

Written by: Enriqueta Vallejo-Yagüe.