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All The Covid-19 In The World Can Fit Into A Can Of Coke, According To Mathematician

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All The Covid-19 In The World Can Fit Into A Can Of Coke, According To Mathematician

Covid-19 has cast a shadow over our lives for over a year now, but the actual size of the virus itself? You could fit the entirety of it into a can of Coke.

That's the reckoning of one British mathematician, who worked out how much physical space all the minuscule viral particles currently circulating the planet would take up if they were all squashed into one space.

In work that shows how much damage being caused by such a tiny amount of matter, Kit Yates, a maths expert from Bath University, has calculated that there are around two quintillion - or two billion billion - SARS-CoV-2 virus particles in the world at any one time.

"It's astonishing to think that all the trouble, the disruption, the hardship and the loss of life that has resulted over the last year could constitute just a few mouthfuls," he told Sky News.

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The diameter of SARS-CoV-2 averages just 100 nanometres, or 100 billionths of a metre, and Yates said he based his sum off of this figure, taking it to then figure out the volume of the spherical virus.

Staff members at China Center for Disease Control (CDC) receive coronavirus strains for vaccine production. Credit: PA
Staff members at China Center for Disease Control (CDC) receive coronavirus strains for vaccine production. Credit: PA

Yates also accounted for projecting spike proteins and the fact that spherical particles will leave gaps when stacked together, but still calculated that the total amount of Covid-19 out there would take up less space than one regular 330 ml Coke can.

Despite its relatively tiny size, Covid-19 has of course been deadly, with over 2.34 million having now died from the virus globally, and some 107 million cases confirmed worldwide.

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Multiple vaccines are now in circulation around the world, although there has been concern that the AstraZenica vaccine - considered the cheapest and easiest to store of those out there - has limited efficacy against the South African variant of the virus.

The World Health Organization have approved its use in spite of these worries - caused by a paper looking into its effects in a small group of younger Covid-19 sufferers with the variant - saying that it can be used on everyone over 18, including the over 65's.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, meanwhile, warned British citizens to expect the need for a third jab - current vaccines in use operate on two jabs weeks apart from each other - due to new variants that were and could come into circulation.

At Prime Minister's Questions he said: He said: "As the house will have heard from the chief medical officer and the deputy chief medical officer and others, I think we're going to have to get used to vaccinating and then re-vaccinating in the autumn as we come to face these new variants."

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Topics: UK News, Covid-19

Simon Catling
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