Since the discovery of the first virus in the late 1800s, over 5,000 different virus species have been found, although it is estimated that there are millions more. Both dead and alive, viruses need a host to replicate. They are spread through air, water, blood-sucking insects and more. Despite the many years of research, viruses still are a great threat to humans. A viral infection is mostly untreatable apart from vaccines. In human history, viral pandemics are accountable for millions of deaths; the ebola epidemic in 2014 showed the unpredictabilty of viruses. The potential use as a powerful bioweapon is also a great concern in today’s society. The size of a virion is about 100 times smaller than a bacteria, and 10,000 times smaller than a human cell, which makes it invisiblet to the human eye. Although their general structure is known, only with an electron microscope can shape and form can be guessed. Based on the mastercrafted scientific illustrations by biologist Ernst Haeckel, I depicted 45 existing viruses. Some harmless, some irritating, some extremely contagious, some deadly–but all of them give you a glimpse into this fascinating, mysterious and invisible world.
Luca Wunderlin is a visual communication student based in Basel. As a print media designer, his roots lie in typesetting and lithography, but he’s interested in every part of design and likes to try new things.