HIV virus. Coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of a section through a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, centre). The HIV is enclosed in an outer protein coat, or capsid (red). It has budded from the cell membrane of a T-lymphocyte white blood cell (T-cell). HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). It does this by infecting T-cells, cells that have a vital role in the body's immune system. Like all viruses, HIV forces the infected cell to produce more viruses, which then bud off. The lack of healthy T-cells means AIDS sufferers have little defence against infection. Magnification unknown.
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