Differences Between Bacteria and Viruses

Although bacteria and viruses both are very small to be seen without a microscope, there are many differences between Bacteria and Viruses.

Some of the Differences Between Bacteria and Viruses are as follows:





1SizeLarger (1000 nm)Smaller (20-400 nm)
2Cell WallPeptidoglycan or LipopolysaccharideNo cell wall. Protein coat present instead.
4Number of cellsOne cell (Unicellular)No cells
5Living/Non-LivingLiving organismsBetween living and non-living things.
6DNA and RNADNA and RNA floating freely in cytoplasm.DNA or RNA enclosed inside a coat of protein.
8ReproduceAble to reproduce by itselfNeed a living cell to reproduce
9ReproductionFission- a form of asexual reproductionInvades a host cell and takes over the cell causing it to make copies of the viral DNA/RNA. Destroys the host cell releasing new viruses.
10Duration of illnessA bacterial illness commonly will last longer than 10 days.Most viral illnesses last 2 to 10 days.
11FeverA bacterial illness notoriously causes a fever.A viral infection may or may not cause a fever.
12Cellular MachineryPossesses a cellular machineryLack cellular machinery
13Under MicroscopeVisible under Light Microscope.Visible only under Electron Microscope.
14BenefitsSome bacteria are beneficial (Normal Flora)Viruses are not beneficial. However, a particular virus may be able to destroy brain tumors. Viruses can be useful in genetic engineering.
15TreatmentAntibioticsVirus does not respond to antibiotics.
16ExamplesStaphylococcus aureus, Vibrio cholerae, etcHIV, Hepatitis A virus, Rhino Virus, etc
17Diseases/InfectionsFood poisoning, gastritis and ulcers, meningitis, pneumonia, etcAIDS, common cold, influenza, chickenpox, etc

6 thoughts on “Differences Between Bacteria and Viruses”

  1. More about symptoms–chills and clamminess for instance. (trying to tell what I have and how long before I should take antibiotics.

    Also breathing ?

    • No 12 answers that. Viruses do not possess cellular machineries. They live in protein coats. Simply put, they do not require cells to exist.

    • They depend on the host cell for their survival , and remember they are between living and non living . When they are outside the host cell can still survive as crystalline .

    • virus is inert outside the host it’s just like chemical in the test tube. most of the time virus depend on host energy, and machinery.


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