“It’s astonishing to think that all the trouble, the disruption, the hardship and the loss of life that has resulted over the last year could constitute just a few mouthfuls,” he said.
Detailing the steps in his calculations, Mr Yates said he used the diameter of SARS-CoV-2 – at an average of about 100 nanometres, or 100 billionths of a metre – and then figured out the volume of the spherical virus.
Even accounting for the 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 millilitre cola can, he said.
More from Covid-19
More than 2.34 million people have died in the COVID-19 pandemic so far, and there have been almost 107 million confirmed cases worldwide.
Vaccination programmes are taking place throughout the world amid a continuing surge in cases and deaths.
Sky News is hosting a series of special programmes examining the UK’s response to the pandemic.
Watch COVID Crisis: Learning the Lessons at 8pm tonight and tomorrow