|MadSci Network: Virology|
It depends on the virus and the type of cell attacked, but there are at least three distinct possibilities:
1) The viral membrane merges with the cell membrane - in this case everything that's attached to the viral membrane now becomes part of the cell membrane.
2) The virus disengages (observed with some bacteriophages) - in which case the recipient cell integrity is restored.
3) The virus remains attached, but does not merge with the cell.
Hope this helps.
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