Spillover: Zika, Ebola & Beyond

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The proteins that make up the icosahedral-shaped capsid are shown. The proteins colored red attach to receptors on the host cell.

Adenovirus Cross Section

A. Terminal protein; B. Core proteins; C. DNA genome; D. Minor capsid proteins; E.  Major capsid proteins; F. Fiber protein


  • Adenoviridae family
  • ~100-nm naked particles with an icosahedral structure
  • Linear, ds DNA genome of varying sizes
  • Infects humans and other mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians

Show Relative Size

As of 2015, there are 50 recognized species in the Adenoviridae family. They infect many different hosts including humans and other mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. In humans they cause many common but relatively mild clinical conditions such as pink eye, the common cold, and bronchitis. Like bacteriophages, adenoviruses are used extensively in scientific research. Adenoviruses are also used as vectors in gene therapy.


Relative Sizes

Chart showing size comparison of different viruses.

The white line represents 100 nanometers (nm). For comparison, the width of a human hair is about 75,000 nm, so it would be 750 times as long!