Diagnosing Viruses with LVEM25

TEM for Diagnosing Viruses

Diagnosing viruses using electron microscopy is typically applied for outbreaks of dangerous infectious diseases and not in routine diagnostics.  However, it remains a powerful tool useful for clinicians and researchers alike.  A recent report by Möller and colleagues highlights the versatility of TEM in diagnosing viruses ranging from vaccinia to yellow fever to rotovirus.

LVEM25 Versatility

The LVEM25 provides a versatile tool for diagnosing viruses. Historically, diagnostic EM required transmission electron microscopes (TEM) that are very expensive and require large dedicated physical spaces and dedicated technical expertise for their successful operation. In recent years, the low voltage electron microscope (LVEM) has made TEM affordable and requiring small laboratory footprints, with models such as the LVEM25.

Example LVEM Images of Viruses

The report by Möller and colleagues compares LVEM25 images to high voltage ‘traditional’ TEM images as well as scanning electron microscope (SEM) images side by side.  The results of the LVEM25 images are as high quality as any other tool studied, and the instrument is able to perform well in clinically relevant situations of diagnosing viruses in the complex matrices of clinical samples.  Selected images are shown below.


Left, yellow fever virus (flavivirus) (Möller, 2020)
Middle: vaccinia virus (orthopoxvirus) from vero cells. (Möller, 2020)
Right: Human rotovirus from a stool sample.  Even in complex matrices or ‘dirty’ samples, the characteristic wheel shape morphology 


The LVEM25 is a powerful, versatile, affordable tool for diagnosing viruses, even in complex matrices.  The comparison of LVEM to TEM reveals LVEM offers a highly suitable technical quality of images, with faster imaging times, easier operation, and lower operating costs compared to high voltage TEM.



Möller, L., Holland, G., Laue, M. “Diagnostic electron microscopy of viruses with low-voltage electron microscopes.” Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin, Germany. 2020.

About the author:

Robert I. MacCuspie, Ph.D., has over twenty years of experience in nanotechnology and materials characterization, at national laboratories, academia and corporations, working at the interface of business and science.