Lassa virus particle, illustration

Lassa virus particle, illustration

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Credit: RAMON ANDRADE 3DCIENCIA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Lassa virus particle, computer illustration. Each virus consists of an RNA (ribonucleic acid) genome surrounded by a protein capsid, which is itself surrounded by an envelope (cream) covered in a single type of glycoprotein spike known as GPC. Each GPC molecule consists of two subunits, GP1 (red) and GP2 (orange). When a host cell is encountered GP1 binds to the host cell receptor and GP2 begins the fusion process that allows the virus to enter the cell. This virus, which is endemic to West Africa, causes Lassa haemorrhagic fever. It is transmitted through exposure to infected rodent faeces and urine.

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