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Why can some viruses spread with droplet like influenza virus, but some can not like HIV?

Is it due to their physical shape or the protein of their wrapper? Is there any formalized logic decide this before test the virus in lab?

Thanks in advance!

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE! Some of which virus? There are 'a lot' of virsuses... $\endgroup$ – Galen Apr 22 '20 at 1:21
  • $\begingroup$ This is a very general question. I popup this idea during read the book <<The Hot Zone>> $\endgroup$ – Erxin Apr 22 '20 at 8:42
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    $\begingroup$ I would recommend first looking at some of the wikipedia pages for some viruses and doing some preliminary research to make your question more precise. This is a very broad question and it is hard to answer unless you can narrow it. $\endgroup$ – Maximilian Press Apr 22 '20 at 23:54
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much for the help. @MaximilianPress I will check the wikipedia later too. Actually I'm a programmer, love to read books. It's hard for me to start without basic virus knowledges. I will try to ask the question more precisely in the next time. :) $\endgroup$ – Erxin Apr 23 '20 at 2:24
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The question you are asking, if I have it right, is about what is called the "mode of transmission" of a virus.

I won't get into too much detail but there are many many factors that play a role. The main one here (in the example of HIV vs influenza) is which cells the virus infects. Influenza infects cells of in the mouth, throat and lungs. So when it grows and ruptures these cells the virus will be let out in your throat, mouth and lungs. So the way it spreads to other people is coming out of these areas on saliva and mucus when coughed or sneezed in droplets.

HIV on the other hand infects cells of the immune system, which are mainly found in the bloodstream as well as mucus cells (that line reproductive tracks). Again without going into too much detail (because mucoid layers are also found in the stomach etc) HIV can spread only from the location where the cells are located that it infects. Because it does not generally infect cells in the mouth and throat it will not be able to access these areas. So it spreads from blood or sexual intercourse, as that is where the cells of the immune system that it infects are located.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE! This looks like a good answer, but answers are much more likely to receive a favorable response if you include supporting references (primary literature is best). Without that support, your answer is indistinguishable from opinion. This is a good example of how to format references. ——— You may also want to take the tour and then consult the help pages for additional advice on How to Answer effectively on this site. Thank you! 😊 $\endgroup$ – tyersome Apr 22 '20 at 4:48
  • $\begingroup$ Does this means not all the cells of human composed with same chemical surface? If so that is amazing. How could that be? As I superficial knowledge, all the cells of human are mitosis from stem cells. I though all the surface should be the same... $\endgroup$ – Erxin Apr 22 '20 at 6:07
  • $\begingroup$ The surfaces of cells have many markers that are different. The DNA will be the same (with exceptions). But the surfaces will be different. For example: Cancer cells that show a different surface will be destroyed by immune cells. $\endgroup$ – Polypipe Wrangler Apr 22 '20 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ Got it. Thank you! $\endgroup$ – Erxin Apr 23 '20 at 2:26

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