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The quick, little sting of a vaccine shot can provide us with some big protection from germs that cause disease.
One kind of germ is a virus. Viruses are so small that you can’t see them even with a normal microscope. But if you use a more powerful electron microscope, you’d see each one wears a kind of coat with bits and knobs that stick out in different directions.
“Just like every person’s face looks different, every virus coat looks different,” said my friend Felix Lankester, a veterinarian at Washington State University.
The other day I was out ice skating when I started thinking about your question. Water strider bugs skitter across ponds almost as if they were skating on ice.
I decided to visit my friend Dan Pope to find out how this works. He’s a graduate student at Washington State University who studies chemistry.