2022 AMI Online Salon

Dr Fauci’s SARS-CoV-2 Virion – Smithsonian Museum of American History

Project Details

  • Entrant Name:  Kristen Browne
  • Client: Dr Anthony Fauci, Dr Francis Collins, and Dr Barney Graham
  • Copyright: NIAID Biovisualization Team, 2021
  • Medium/software used: Digital 3D Model – Cinema 4D and ZBrush, 3D Print – Projet 650 BinderJet Printer
  • Final presentation format: 3D Print
  • Primary Audience: Public Education

Project Description

Early in the COVID-19 crisis, this 3D model was developed to provide Dr. Fauci (NIAID Director), Dr. Collins (former NIH Director), and Dr. Graham (former Vaccine Research Center (VRC) Director) with a tool to educate presidents, congress, the senate, the media, and the public. This model was based on the 3D reconstruction of virus cultured from one of the first COVID-19 patients and reflects the often ovoid shape of the virion and the random distribution of spikes on the surface.  The darker spikes represent open, active conformations.  This model was purposely designed to only use SARS-CoV-2 data and did not incorporate hypothetical or SARS data. Dr. Fauci’s personal version of this model was donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History during the March 2 “Great Americans Program” in which Dr. Fauci received the museum’s signature honor, the Great Americans Medal.  Dr. Graham used this and other models when educating VRC visitors (including presidents Biden and Trump), where the groundwork for the Moderna vaccine was developed.  Dr. Collins memorably used his model in senate hearings and spoke/wrote several times about the model when addressing NIH staff and the community.   He described this and other 3D prints we provided as “excellent teaching tools to share among scientists and the public. Folks can hold the plaster virus and closely examine its structure.”