Differences Between Bacteria and Virus

Differences Between Bacteria and Virus

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Differences Between Bacteria and Virus

Differences Between Bacteria and Virus

Here are some differences:





1 Cell type Prokaryotic cells Acellular
2 Number of cells Single celled No cell
3 Size Larger than viruses (0.3-2 μ) Minute (0.02-0.3 μ)
4 Microscopy Visible under Light Microscope. Visible only under Electron Microscope.
5 Shape  Common bacterial cell shapes include cocci (spherical), bacilli (rod-shaped), spiral, and vibrio (comma shaped). Viruses typically have spherical (polyhedral), rod-shaped, or helical shaped capsids while some viruses, such as bacteriophages, have complex shapes.
6 Cellular Machinery Possesses a cellular machinery  Lack cellular machinery
7 Type of organism Mostly intercellular organisms (i.e. they live in-between cells); some intracellular. Intracellular organisms (they infiltrate the host cell and live inside the cell). 
8 Structure Organelles and genetic material within a cell wall Genetic material within a capsid, some have an envelope membrane.
9 Cell wall Cell wall made of peptidoglycan and lipopolysaccharide. No cell wall. Protein coat present instead.
10 Cellular membrane Cell membranes present. No sterol except in Mycoplasma cells which have cholesterol. Some are enveloped; but no membrane function.
11 Genome DNA and RNA

1 chromosome

No histones


1 nucleocapsid except in segmented or diploid viruses

12 Nucleic acid DNA and RNA floating freely in the cytoplasm. DNA or RNA is enclosed inside a coat of protein.
13 mRNA Mono- and poly-cistronic mRNA Some have poly-cistronic mRNA and post translational cleavage.
14 Cell organelles Presence of non- membrane bound cell organelles. Absent. Uses host organelles ;obligate intracellular parasites
15 Ribosomes 70s ribosomes (30s+50s) No ribosomes
16 Living attributes Living organisms. Between living and non-living things.
17 Replication Binary fission (asexual). DNA replicates cells continuously. 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.
18 Need of host cell Able to reproduce by itself. Need a living cell to reproduce
19 Other forms In some spore forming bacteria, sporulating forms can be seen. Besides viruses, two other acellular forms exist: Viroids and Prions.
20 Cells Infected Animal, Plant, Fungi Animal, Plant, Protozoa, Fungi, Bacteria, Archaea
21 Infection Localized Systemic 
22 Induction of Fever A bacterial illness notoriously causes a fever A viral infection may or may not cause a fever.
23 Duration of illness A bacterial illness commonly will last longer than 10 days. Most viral illnesses last 2 to 10 days.
24 Diseases/Infections Food poisoning, gastritis and ulcers, meningitis, pneumonia, etc AIDS, common cold, influenza, chickenpox, etc
25 Susceptibility to Antibiotics Most bacteria susceptible to antibiotics. Virus does not respond to antibiotics.
26 Treatment Antibiotics Antiviral drugs
27 Beneficial use Some 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.
28 Examples E.coliSalmonella spp., Listeria spp., Mycobacteria spp., Staphylococcus spp., Bacillus anthracis HIV, Hepatitis A virus, Rhino Virus, Ebola virus etc

Differences Between Bacteria and Virus

18 thoughts on “Differences Between Bacteria and 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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