MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Virus abstract. Three-dimensional computer graphic representation of a spiked virus. Viruses are tiny infectious agents. They cause ailments ranging from warts, the common cold and influenza, to serious diseases such as rabies, Lassa fever and AIDS. The structure of the virus seen here consists of a protein coat which houses genetic material. Spikes projecting from the coat allow the virus to bind to host cells before infection. Spiked viruses include HIV which causes AIDS, and the influenza virus. These spikes may change structure, forming a new viral strain and enabling the virus to spread as an epidemic. Viruses only reproduce inside cells.
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