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Hepatitis B Virus Photographs

Electron micrographs and description by
Linda Stannard


"Virions are 42 nm in diameter and possess an isometric nucleocapsid or "core" of 27 nm in diameter, surrounded by an outer caot approximately 4 nm thick. The protein of the virion coat is termed "surface antigen" or HBsAg. It is sometimes extended as a tubular tail on one side of the virus particle. The surface antigen is generally produced in vast excess, and is found in the blood of infected individuals in the foem of filamentous and spherical particles. Filamentous particles are identical to the virion "tails" - they vary in length and have a mean diameter of about 22 nm. They sometimes display regular, non-helical transverse striations.

Photographs are copyright by Linda Stannard.

Linda Stannard
Department of Medical Microbiology
University of Cape Town
Cape Town, South Africa

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