Can of COVID? All the world’s virus would fit in Coke can

"It's absolutely crazy that all the devastation and the destruction and loss of life that this virus has caused all boils down to an incredibly small volume of material," says Yates, a mathematician at Bath University told Reuters.

"It would be great to think that we could just pack it up in a can of fizzy drink and then shoot it off into space and see the back of it but unfortunately that's not how taking control of the virus is going to happen."

Using global rates of new infections with the pandemic disease, coupled with estimations of viral load, Yates worked out there are around two quintillion - or two billion billion- SARS-CoV-2 virus particles in the world at any one time.

Detailing the steps in his calculations, Yates said he used the diameter of SARS-CoV-2 - at an average of about 100 nanometers, or 100 billionths of a meter - and then figured out the volume of the spherical virus.

Even accounting for the coronavirus' projecting spike proteins and the fact that the spherical particles will leave gaps when stacked together, the total is still less than in a single 330 milliliter cola can, he said.

"I wouldn't recommend trying it. It's probably the most disgusting drink that you could ever imagine," Yates said.

Video Transcript

[CAN OPENING]

- It's absolutely crazy that all the devastation and destruction and loss of life that this virus has caused. It all boils down to an incredibly small volume of material. It'd be great to think we could just pack it up in a can of fizzy drink, and then shoot it off into space, and see the back of it. But unfortunately, that's not how taking control of the virus is going to happen.

So what you need to know is, how many people are getting infected every day. You need to know how many virus particles they have when they're infected. So you put those two together, and you get a figure about 200 quadrillion particles in the world at any one time.

And then you just need to use the formula for the volume of a sphere to figure out how big these particles are in total, knowing that each one of them is about 100 nanometers across. In total, you get to about 160 milliliters of SARS-COV-2 particles. I wouldn't recommend trying it is probably the most disgusting drink that you could ever imagine.