Difference Between Bacteria and Virus


Main Difference

Bacteria are the prokaryotic microorganisms that are single-celled and occur in various forms and shapes. They can either be found as parasites feeding on host’s body and also can dwell independently in plants etc. Depending on the types of bacteria, it can be harmful and beneficial both. Viruses are the parasitic agents that live and dwell inside the body of their hosts. They harm the host body with infections and is deal with body immune system. Viruses are not yet considered as living or non-living as research regarding this is still in process.

Comparison Chart

Bacteria are the single-celled prokaryotic microorganisms that are found in numerous shapes and form.Viruses are the acellular parasitic agent that are found inside the body of the host. They dwell inside their host.
Being prokaryotic bacteria does not possess cell organelles, and their RNA and DNA is freely present inside the cytoplasm. They possess cell membrane and cell wall both.As they are acellular and are not yet considered as living, their RNA and DNA is presently enclosed inside the coat of protein. They do not have any membrane or cell wall.
They reproduce by the process of Fission i.e. asexual reproduction.They destroy the RNA and DNA of the host and let it replicate the affected viral cell copies.
Living characteristics
Bacteria are Living organisms. (Microorganisms).Viruses are not yet defined whether they are living or non-living.
Common Types or Shapes
Bacilli, Spirilla, Cocci, vibrio, comma-shaped, coiled etc.Helical, icosahedral, conical, etc.
Larger than 1000nm.Smaller up to 20-400nm.
Cell wall
Made up of Peptidoglycan or sometimes lipopolysaccharide.The cell wall is absent, instead of it, protein coat is present.

What is Bacteria?

Bacteria are single-celled prokaryotic microorganisms that are found widely in nature. They exist as independent as well as some of them dwell inside the body of hosts as parasites. They exist in a variety of different forms and shapes. They are prokaryotes, which means they does not possess true nucleus inside their cell body and there are no further developed cell organelles. Humans, plants and higher animals are Eukaryotes, they all have a true nucleus, and their cell possesses true cell body and cell organelles. They have simple single cell body that composes of RNA and DNA. The DNA and RNA of the bacteria are freely floating inside the body of cytoplasm. They do not possess any other cell organelle being prokaryotic. For the protection of their cell, like other higher living organisms, they possess a cell membrane and a cell wall which protects the cell body. The cell wall in the bacteria is made up of Peptidoglycan. In some kinds of bacteria, it is also made up of Lipopolysaccharide. Bacteria depending on their type and nature can be harmful and beneficial both. Bacteria which lives inside the host as the parasite can be harmful and can affect the host. Other kinds of bacteria can be used to make antibiotics that are used in the bacterial infection and reaction. Antibiotics are the medicine most widely used for various treatment against numerous diseases. They are made with the help of beneficial bacteria. Being microorganisms bacteria cannot be seen by the naked eye and their size ranges from 800 to 1000nm sometimes larger too. Bacteria reproduce by asexual reproduction. Fission is a kind of asexual reproduction that takes place in the bacterial cells and replicates them to reproduce further. Bacteria differs in shape and size. Famous bacteria classes by their shapes include Cocci bacteria, bacilli bacteria, Vibrio, comma-shaped, spiralla etc. Bacteria is divided into gram-negative positive bacteria and gram negative bacteria.


What is Virus?

Viruses are the acellular parasitic agents that dwell inside the body of the host. Viruses are not declared as living organisms and neither they are declared as non-living, as there are various researches that contradict both of these statements. Further research is still in process and scientists are identifying whether they are living or non-living. Viruses exist in the form of small separate particles termed as virions. They are of different shape and size. Common shapes of virus particles include helical, icosahedral, etc. Viruses do not exist independently as bacteria do, they can only live inside the body of their hosts as parasites. The virus usually causes various infections and diseases inside the body of the host that are then tackled by the immune system of the host’s body. Viral infections are cured with vaccines and other inoculating and injecting techniques. Nowadays viruses are used in the genetic engineering phenomena which demonstrate their beneficial or positive side. RNA and DNA of the viruses are enclosed and covered by the coat of protein. They reproduce by replicating the infected cell inside the body of the host. Infections caused by bacteria are all curable, whereas infections caused by viruses are incurable such as common cold and HIV that cause AIDS. Only body immune system if stronger enough can prevent the infections of viruses.

Bacteria vs. Virus

  • Bacteria are single-celled prokaryotic microorganisms that dwell independently and as well as inside the body of the hosts.
  • Viruses are the acellular parasitic pigment or agents that can only dwell inside the body of the host as parasites.
  • Bacteria have a single cell and are living microorganisms.
  • Viruses are no yet confirmed as either living or non-living organism; research is still in process.
  • Depending on their types, bacteria can be beneficial and harmful as well.
  • Viruses are usually harmful in nature, although some of them are now used in the genetic engineering process.
  • Antibiotics cure diseases caused by bacteria.
  • Infection caused by Viruses are cured with Vaccines.
  • Infections caused by bacteria result in Tuberculosis, strep throat, uterus infection,
  • Infections caused by viruses result in common colds, chickenpox, AIDS,
  • Bacteria possess cell wall outside the cell body for protection.
  • The virus does not have cell wall have they possess protein coat around.
  • Bacteria are usually larger than 1000nm in size.
  • Viruses are smaller and range from 20-400nm in size.
Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss