How we visualise viruses

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, images of viruses are everywhere. For a long time experts have thought carefully about how to represent the antigens that cause sickness. These portrayals range from illustrations of airborne germs multiplying to surgery posters that explain how individuals can help stop the spread of bacteria and viruses. Chris Mugan shows how the way we depict disease has changed since we first recognised the enemy within.

Words by Chris Mugan

  • In pictures

About the author

Black and white photograph of Chris Mugan

Chris Mugan

Chris Mugan is a freelance journalist with interests ranging from art and music to travel and design. He has written on these areas for publications including the Independent, the i newspaper, the Financial Times and Art Quarterly. Chris has also contributed to books on fine art and design published by Phaidon.