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AIDS virus. Illustration showing the internal structure of an AIDS virus. AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The core of this HIV virus particle is a capsule (dark blue) containing RNA strands (ribonucleic acid, coloured red). Around the core is an icosahedral shell of matrix proteins (light blue and black). Over this is a membrane envelope (green bilayer) taken from the membrane of the host cell that made this virus particle. Anchored to the shell are viral knobs (yellow) that allow the virus particle to attach to cells. AIDS impairs the immune system and allows often fatal secondary infections.
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