DR KARI LOUNATMAA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR KARI LOUNATMAA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Influenza virus. Computer manipulation of a transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of a cluster of five spherical-shaped influenza (flu) viruses. Each virus consists of a ribonucleic acid (RNA core surrounded by a spiked protein envelope. The tiny external spikes stick to host cells when the virus invades the body. The virus has an affinity for mucus, and is spread in droplets from coughs or sneezes. Infection is usually short- lived. However, the spikes on the virus can change structure to create a new strain of influenza that may spread as an epidemic. Magnification: x114,000 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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