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Smallpox virus

Smallpox virus

M050/0781

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Credit

BSIP, CAVALLINI JAMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP, CAVALLINI JAMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Smallpox virus. Computer illustration of a variola virus, the cause of smallpox. The virus has a protein coat (capsid) surrounding its DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid, across centre) genetic material. Smallpox was eradicated in the 1970s by a global vaccination programme. Isolated cultures of variola viruses are still kept in laboratories for research purposes. The disease causes high fever and skin spots that quickly develop into scarring pustules. The virus is transmitted by coughed droplets or the pus from pustules of an infected person. Variola belongs to the orthopoxvirus group of viruses.

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