BSIP, CAVALLINI JAMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP, CAVALLINI JAMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Influenza virus. Computer illustration of an influenza (flu) virus. It belongs to the orthomyxovirus group of viruses, which have an affinity for mucus. The virus contains a core of ribonucleoprotein (RNP, red), which consists of protein and RNA (ribonucleic acid) genetic material. The RNP lies inside a protein coat or capsid (blue). Antigen spikes (blue circles) on the capsid allow the virus to attach to its host cell. Influenza is an infection of the respiratory tract. It causes a fever, aching muscles, a sore throat and weakness. Some of the new strains of influenza that appear can cause fatal epidemics.
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