28 Differences Between Bacteria and Virus (Bacteria vs Virus)

Biology Educational Videos

Last Updated on July 8, 2020 by Sagar Aryal

Differences Between Bacteria and Virus

Differences Between Bacteria and Virus

Some of the differences between bacteria and virus are as follows:





1Cell typeProkaryotic cellsAcellular
2Number of cellsSingle-celledNo cell
3SizeLarger than viruses (0.3-2 μ)Minute (0.02-0.3 μ)
4MicroscopyVisible under Light Microscope.Visible only under an Electron Microscope.
5Shape Common bacterial cell shapes include cocci (spherical), bacilli (rod-shaped), spiral, and vibrio (comma-shaped).Viruses typically have spherical (polyhedral), rod-shaped, or helically shaped capsids while some viruses, such as bacteriophages, have complex shapes.
6Cellular MachineryPossesses a cellular machinery Lack of cellular machinery
7Type of organismMostly intercellular organisms (i.e. they live in-between cells); some intracellular.Intracellular organisms (they infiltrate the host cell and live inside the cell). 
8StructureOrganelles and genetic material within a cell wallGenetic material within a capsid, some have an envelope membrane.
9Cell wallCell wall made of peptidoglycan and lipopolysaccharide.No cell wall. Protein coat presents instead.
10Cellular membraneCell membranes present. No sterol except in Mycoplasma cells which have cholesterol.Some are enveloped, but no membrane function.
11GenomeDNA and RNA

1 chromosome

No histones


1 nucleocapsid except in segmented or diploid viruses

12Nucleic acidDNA and RNA floating freely in the cytoplasm.DNA or RNA is enclosed inside a coat of protein.
13mRNAMono- and poly-cistronic mRNASome have poly-cistronic mRNA and post-translational cleavage.
14Cell organellesPresence of non-membrane bound cell organelles.Absent. Uses host organelles; obligate intracellular parasites
15Ribosomes70s ribosomes (30s+50s)No ribosomes
16Living attributesLiving organisms.Between living and non-living things.
17ReplicationBinary fission (asexual). DNA replicates cells continuously.It 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.
18The need for host cellAble to reproduce by itself.Need a living cell to reproduce
19Other formsIn some spore-forming bacteria, sporulating forms can be seen.Besides viruses, two other acellular forms exist Viroids and Prions.
20Cells InfectedAnimal, Plant, FungiAnimal, Plant, Protozoa, Fungi, Bacteria, Archaea
22Induction of FeverA bacterial illness notoriously causes a feverA viral infection may or may not cause a fever.
23Duration of illnessA bacterial illness commonly will last longer than 10 days.Most viral illnesses last 2 to 10 days.
24Diseases/InfectionsFood poisoning, gastritis, and ulcers, meningitis, pneumonia, etcAIDS, common cold, influenza, chickenpox, etc
25Susceptibility to AntibioticsMost bacteria are susceptible to antibiotics.The virus does not respond to antibiotics.
26TreatmentAntibioticsAntiviral drugs
27Beneficial useSome bacteria are beneficial (as normal flora, probiotics, fermenters, etc.)Viruses are not beneficial. However, a particular virus may be able to destroy brain tumors. Viruses can be useful in genetic engineering.
28ExamplesE.coliSalmonella spp., Listeria spp., Mycobacteria spp., Staphylococcus spp., Bacillus anthracis, etc.HIV, Hepatitis A virus, Rhino Virus, Ebola virus, etc.

Differences Between Bacteria and Virus

24 thoughts on “28 Differences Between Bacteria and Virus (Bacteria vs Virus)”

  1. Fungi, are they more closer to plant or animal? pls clarify in the light of morphology, structure, genetics, pathology e.t.c


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