• Question: What's the difference between bacteria and virus?

    Asked by aileenjcat to Colin, John, Kevin, Shikha, Triona on 16 Nov 2014. This question was also asked by 534bera36.
    • Photo: Shikha Sharma

      Shikha Sharma answered on 16 Nov 2014:

      Hi aileenjcat,

      There are various differences between a virus and bacteria like,
      Size of a bacteria is 1/100th the size of a cell or less than 0.01mm whereas viruses are 20 to 400 nm except few viruses.
      Bacteria are single-celled organisms without a nucleus whereas viruses are just a DNA molecule covered by a protein coat.
      Bacteria can be good(help in digestion) or bad (cause diseases) whereas viruses are generally pathogenic except bacteriophages (viruses that kill bacteria)
      Bacteria have the capability to replicate on their own whereas viruses can’t replicate on their own and require host cell to replicate.
      The genetic material of bacteria is a circular DNA whereas genetic material of viruses can be either DNA or RNA.

    • Photo: Tríona O'Connell

      Tríona O'Connell answered on 18 Nov 2014:

      A bacteria is a tiny complete organism, they have the machinary to feed, move around and replicate themselves.
      Viruses are basically just nucleic acids wrapped in a protein shell. They rely on getting into cells ot hijack their machinary to replicate themselves. Because viruses use cell machinary to reproduce, it’s difficult to target them with drugs, they do little until they get into a cell and if you start attacking the cell you get some serious sideeffects

    • Photo: Kevin Motherway

      Kevin Motherway answered on 18 Nov 2014:

      Put in simple “war movie” analogy for myself. In terms of an infection a bacteria is like a fully armed special forces army invading a country. A virus is like dropping leaflets containing nothing but the instructions of how to become a soldier for the opposition and some of the citizens being taken over and not only fighting for the enemy but continuing to print and distribute more leaflets to convert others, being carful not to kill off the population so fast the country ceases to exist along with the virus. Thankfully our bodies make about a billon white blood cells everyday to fight them all off. In that sense Ebola is not a good virus in that it kills it’s host! A well evolved virus like flu keeps its host alive to manufacture plenty more troops to one onto the next victim!