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:





1 Size Larger (1000 nm) Smaller (20-400 nm)
2 Cell Wall Peptidoglycan or Lipopolysaccharide No cell wall. Protein coat present instead.
3 Ribosomes Present Absent
4 Number of cells One cell (Unicellular) No cells
5 Living/Non-Living Living organisms Between living and non-living things.
6 DNA and RNA DNA and RNA floating freely in cytoplasm. DNA or RNA enclosed inside a coat of protein.
7 Infection Localized Systemic
8 Reproduce Able to reproduce by itself Need a living cell to reproduce
9 Reproduction Fission- a form of asexual reproduction Invades 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.
10 Duration of illness A bacterial illness commonly will last longer than 10 days. Most viral illnesses last 2 to 10 days.
11 Fever A bacterial illness notoriously causes a fever. A viral infection may or may not cause a fever.
12 Cellular Machinery Possesses a cellular machinery Lack cellular machinery
13 Under Microscope Visible under Light Microscope. Visible only under Electron Microscope.
14 Benefits Some 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.
15 Treatment Antibiotics Virus does not respond to antibiotics.
16 Examples Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio cholerae, etc HIV, Hepatitis A virus, Rhino Virus, etc
17 Diseases/Infections Food poisoning, gastritis and ulcers, meningitis, pneumonia, etc AIDS, common cold, influenza, chickenpox, etc

5 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 .

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