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AIDS virus

AIDS virus

M050/0791

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Credit

SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

AIDS virus. Computer illustration of a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) by infecting the T-lymphocyte white blood cells (T-cells) of the immune system. The outer envelope (yellow) of the virus is studded with surface proteins (blue) that allow HIV to grab onto and sneak into the T- cells. HIV then instructs them to make more viruses which bud away from the cells, ultimately killing them. With fewer T-cells, the patient becomes vulnerable to formerly harmless infections, a condition known as AIDS.

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