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Smallpox virus life cycle

Smallpox virus life cycle

M050/0877

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Credit

RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption

Smallpox. Artwork showing the life cycle of the smallpox (variola) virus. At upper right the virus particles enter the host cell. The DNA genetic material (pink rectangles) is released into the cell, where it begins to make copies of itself. The new DNA is taken into developing spherical virus particles (blue, lower centre). Some of the particles escape through the cell membrane (upper left). Others push into the cell membrane from beneath, forming villi (such as at upper right). These can contact other cells, infecting them in the process. Smallpox causes fever and often death. It was eradicated in the 1970s, but laboratory cultures still exist.

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