BSIP, CAVALLINI JAMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP, CAVALLINI JAMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
HIV. Computer artwork of a particle of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), the virus which causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). The cone-shaped nucleoid, containing the virus' two strands of RNA (ribonucleic acid, not seen) is shown. These strands encode the genes required for the virus to infect its host, reproduce and spread. The nucleoid is surrounded by a protein coat or capsid (circular membrane, blue/purple). HIV invades and destroys the white blood cells of the immune system which protect against invading pathogens, severely reducing the body's ability to protect itself from infection.
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