TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Chinese authorities have released the first close-up images of the deadly coronavirus which has killed at least 26 people and infected some 830 others in China’s Wuhan.

The Institute of Microbiology at Chinese Academy of Sciences shared the images Friday, as the country grapples with an unprecedented quarantine of over 18 million people, RT reported.

The Wuhan Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV is closely related to both the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), and has so far spread to Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the United States.

Those infected display symptoms ranging from the common cold to severe lung infections, and current countermeasures, like the wearing of face masks, mass disinfection and temperature screening of travellers, have thus far been unable to stop the spread.

In order to speed up research into the disease and other coronavirus strains, Chinese authorities have established a global coronavirus resource big data platform, complete with “electron micrographs, novel coronavirus nucleic acid detection primers and probe sequences.”

By releasing and integrating the genetic information of pathogens, authorities hope to improve early warning and prevention infectious diseases like that in future.