AIDS virus and immune system cells

AIDS virus and immune system cells

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Credit: RUSSELL KIGHTLEY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: AIDS virus & immune cells, artwork. AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Virus particles (at left and at top right) are seen with four types of white blood cell (leucocyte). A macrophage (upper centre) and a helper T-cell (lower left) are under attack by HIV particles. A B-lymphocyte (lower right) is a precursor to plasma cells (red, far right). The plasma cells produce antibodies (red, Y-shaped) that bind to HIV-infected cells. These biochemically marked cells are then attacked by killer cells (one at lower centre). AIDS impairs the immune system and allows often fatal secondary infections.

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