HIV virus. Computer graphic image showing the external envelope of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the causative agent of AIDS. In its core the virus has some nucleid acid material in the form of RNA; the core is protected by shells made of proteins. The virus attaches to the external membrane of a T-lymphocyte cell, a key component of the human immune system, and then injects itself into the host cell. Here the HIV virus, by using the resources of the host cell, replicates and a new progeny then buds away from the T-cell, which is ultimately destroyed.
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