Cell infected with HIV, SEM

Cell infected with HIV, SEM

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Credit: THOMAS DEERINCK, NCMIR/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cell infected with HIV. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of HIV particles (red) budding from the membrane of a host cell. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) attacks CD4+ T-lymphocytes (specialised white blood cells), which are crucial in the body's immune system. It enters the cell and makes many copies of itself, which then destroy the cell as they emerge through its membrane. This severely weakens the immune system, causing AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

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