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Model of adenovirus, England, 1974-1976

The adenovirus was discovered in 1953. Since then a hundred types have been found, 47 of which affect humans. Adenoviruses are a type of virus that contains DNA and cause conjunctivitis, gastroenteritis and infections in the respiratory tract. This cardboard and plastic model shows type 5, which causes respiratory infections. A body must fight off an adenovirus itself as antibiotics are ineffective. All adenoviruses are this shape, which is icosahedral or twenty sided. Adenoviruses are only visible using an electron microscope.

Object number:

1981-2206

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    Glossary:

    Glossary: electron microscope

    An electron microscope uses a beam of electrons, instead of light, to produce highly magnified images of objects. As electrons have a much smaller wavelength than visible light, this allows a much higher resolution to be achieved

    Glossary: model - representation

    Use for a scaled representation of an object or structure, usually three-dimensional. The item is often idealised or modified to make it conceptually easier to understand.

    Glossary: DNA

    DNA stores the information, or blueprints, of every cell and is located in the genes. It is made up of two strands which form a double helix that is linked by hydrogen bonds. It was first described in 1953 by Francis Crick and James Watson.

    Glossary: virus

    A tiny particle made up of DNA/RNA and a protein coat. Viruses infect animals, plants, and micro-organisms and cause many diseases, including the common cold, influenza, measles, chickenpox, AIDS, polio and rabies. Many viral diseases can be controlled by means of vaccines.

    Glossary: antibiotic

    A substance that is used to treat infections.

    Glossary: gastroenteritis

    A bacterial or viral infection caused by the inflammation of both the stomach and the small intestine.

    Glossary: adenovirus

    A virus that contains DNA. It causes respiratory infections that have similar symptoms to the common cold.

    Glossary: conjunctivitis

    Inflammation of the conjunctiva (outer coating of the eye), which becomes red and produces a watery discharge. It is caused by infection or physical or chemical irritation and is easily treated.