NIBSC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NIBSC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
AIDS viruses. Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a T-lymphocyte blood cell infected with Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the causative agent of AIDS. The surface of the T-cell typically has a lumpy appearance with large irregular surface protrusions. However, smaller spherical structures on the cell surface are HIV virus particles in the process of budding away from the cell membrane. The virus has infected the T-cell, and instructed the cell to reproduce many more viruses. By this viral budding the T-cell dies. Depletion of the number of T-cells in the blood is the main reason for the destruction of a person's immune system in AIDS. Magnification: x20,000 at 8x10 inch size.
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