BSIP VEM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP VEM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Influenza virus. Coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of a section through an influenza (flu) virus. This orthomyxovirus virus is made up of a core of RNA (ribonucleic acid) in a protein coat which is surrounded by an outer spiked envelope (red). The tiny protein spikes stick to host cells when the virus invades the body. This contagious virus has an affinity for mucus, and is spread in droplets from coughs or sneezes. The antigen spikes can mutate and change form making the immune system ineffective and resulting in epidemics. To protect those at risk, new influenza vaccines must be prepared and given every year. Magnification unknown.
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