RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Coronavirus life cycle. Artwork of the replication of a coronavirus. Coronaviruses cause the common cold, gastroenteritis and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). The virus (with red spikes) reproduces inside a host cell (green). It binds to the cell surface with its protein spikes before entering the cell and releasing its RNA (ribonucleic acid) genetic material (yellow strands). This is copied by the cell's own genetic machinery. The new viral genetic material produces its own surface and spike proteins (lower centre), and eventually new virions burst from the cell (lower left). SARS was first identified in China in 2002 and has a mortality rate of around 10%.
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