"Aerosolized vomit-pudding sprays out of its mouth," writes Wired's Sarah Zhang, but this isn't a nasty toy or practical joke. It's part of a research project into how Norovirus spreads, and it'll help save lives.
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The NC State researchers spent two years building and then testing a miniature version of the upper digestive track—essentially a tube (esophagus) connected to a pressurized chamber (stomach). Then they mixed together fake saliva, fake vomit aka vanilla pudding, and a real virus. Norovirus itself is too dangerous to work with, so they used a bacteriophage harmless to humans called MS2. The machine heaved this mixture into a chamber, and a device vacuumed out any aerosolized particles for analysis. In a worst case scenario, a single puking episode aerosolized as many as 13,000 virus particles.