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Difference Between Bacteria & Virus

bacteria and virus

It’s a great opportunity today to elaborate you the difference between bacteria and viruses. We will discuss with you the helpful information relating to these two microorganisms. So let’s get started!

Bacteria are the naturally occurring microbes that are present everywhere around you. Most of these are beneficial, and just 1% of them that are harmful to human beings. In the past, people weren’t aware enough to fight harmful bacteria, but today, many efficient antibiotics are discovered to kill such microbes.

On the other hand, Viruses are pathogens that depend on a living host to survive. A virus always covers its course before eliminating it from a body, or in an otherwise case, the body’s immune should be that strong to surpass them. Humans are more prone to get infected with viruses, such as influenza or a common cold, etc.

Before starting this article, we will go through a comparison chart between bacteria and viruses.

Size of Microbe1000 nm20-400 nm
Genetic MaterialFreely floating genetic material in cytoplasmGenetic material is protein-coated
Type of InfectionLocalizedSystemic
ReproductionCan reproduce by itselfRequires a host to reproduce
DiseasesGastritis, Meningitis, Food Poisoning, etc.Influenza, AIDS, Chickenpox, etc.
ExamplesVibrio cholerae, Mycoplasma, BacillusHepatitis A, HIV, rubella, measles

Bacteria – Brief Description

Bacteria are known to be prokaryotic (doesn’t have a distinct nucleus), unicellular entities. These microorganisms exist everywhere around the earth, be it open air, oceans, deep earth, or inside a living body. It’s quite easy to differentiate a bacterium from eukaryotic cells because of its single-cell nature.

Virus – Brief Description

A virus is considered a separate unit to be studied thoroughly, so the study of viruses is called “Virology.” Coming from a Latin term, virus means a “slimy liquid” or simply a “poison.” Viruses are dangerous infectious entities that cannot be seen with a naked eye. Microbiologists utilize an electron microscope to observe a virus. They are deprived of a distinct cellular structure but do consist of a protein-coated genetic material.

Take a Glimpse at the Similarities Between Bacteria & Virus


Both of these bacteria and viruses fall under the class of microorganisms that are invisible from the naked eye.

Electron Microscope

Either it’s a bacterium or a virus, both can be seen under an electron microscope.

Indistinct Nucleus

Both of these microorganisms do not have a distinct nucleus in them.

Disease-Causing Agents

Both of them can infect a person in one or another, so they come under disease-causing agents.

Know the Differences Between Bacteria & Virus

Despite being similar to invisible entities, there are many differences between bacteria and viruses. Let’s have a look at them one by one.

Basic Information


These are the prokaryotic bodies that exist as single-celled organisms. Bacteria are globally present, ranging from hottest temperatures to the coldest environments, inside your body or in the surroundings, and so on. The maximum percentage of bacteria are beneficial to human beings, and a minimum quantity of them is destructive. They are treating by giving specific antibiotics.


Viruses are neither prokaryotes nor eukaryotes, but they draw a line between the living and non-living. That’s because these microorganisms do not have a cellular body and always require a host to perform their functioning. While on the other hand, they exist with their own genetic material (DNA/RNA) enclosed in a protein structure.

Size of Microorganism


The actual size of bacteria is approximately 1000 nm, which is observed under an electron microscope.


These microbes range from 20 nm – 400 nm, depending on the virus type.

Mode of Classification


One can classify a bacterium in several ways, such as size, shapes, mode of nutrition, gram-negative membrane, gram-positive membrane, etc.


These infectious agents are broadly classified based on their genetic material, which is either DNA-based or RNA-based.

Method of Reproduction


These microorganisms have the ability to replicate asexually via the binary fission method.


Conversely, viruses attack a living host and penetrate to replicate its genetic material (DNA/RNA). This way, a host cell is forced to make multiple copies of a virus, and so it grows.

Duration of Infection


An infection caused by bacteria usually stays for 8-10 days, which leads to high fever. Common bacterial infections include gastritis, leprosy, tuberculosis, ulcer, pneumonia, etc.


A viral infection normally remains for 2-10 days, which can be in the form of influenza, chickenpox, AIDS, common cold, etc.

Different Types of Microorganisms


The common bacteria are Vibrio cholerae, Bacillus, Streptococcus, Spirillum, etc.


The well-known viruses include Hepatitis A, T4 bacteriophage, Papillomavirus, Antiherpes virus, etc.


As in the above article, we finally understood the differences between bacteria and viruses, so one should always take precautionary measures to treat these microbial agents. Despite most bacteria being advantageous for human beings, many cause diseases. Similarly, all viruses are pathogenic organisms that will harm a body in some way or the other. So, get the appropriate treatment if you are caught by any of these microbes.

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