HIV is probably the most widely-recognized and studied retrovirus. This virus can lay dormant in a cell and then quickly reproduce, which opens the door for many mutations to take place.

In SciShow’s video called “Retrovirus: Microbial Supervillians,” host Michael Aranda explains how these viruses can actually change their host cell’s DNA, making them incredibly difficult to fight.

Read: HIV May Date Back Millions Of Years: The Evolution Of Retroviruses

The HIV virus targets a specific cell in the body, for example, and the retrovirus lowers your immunity.

“Sometimes it can cause damage almost immediately. Other times, it can stay dormant for years while its reproduced all around the infected host’s immune system,” Aranda said.

But it’s not all bad. Scientists are working on antibodies to fight these evil viruses.

“Since retroviruses can change a cell’s DNA, they can also be used to insert new genes to fight diseases, like certain cancers,” Aranda explains in the video.

Want to know more about retroviruses? Watch the video above.

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