Flu viruses infecting airways, illustration

Flu viruses infecting airways, illustration

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Credit: KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Flu viruses. Conceptual image of influenza viruses (red) in the airways. The virus particles are not at the same scale as the lung cilia (brown). Each virus consists of a core of RNA (ribonucleic acid) genetic material surrounded by a protein coat (red). Embedded in the coat are surface proteins (spikes). There are two types of surface protein, hemagglutinin (blue) and neuraminidase (light purple), and each exists in several subtypes. Both surface proteins are associated with the pathogenicity of a virus. Hemagglutinin binds to host cells, allowing the virus to enter them and replicate. Neuraminidase allows the new particles to exit the host after replication.

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