What is the difference between a bacteria and a virus?

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Although viruses and bacteria are too small to be seen without a microscope they are as different as elephants and fish.

So, what is the difference between bacteria and a virus?

Bacteria are single-celled, relatively complex creatures with a rigid wall and a thin, rubbery membrane surrounding fluid which is inside the cell. Bacteria can reproduce on their own and fewer than 1% of bacteria cause diseases in people. Bacteria can survive in different environments, including extreme heat and cold, radioactive waste, and the human body.

Viruses, on the other hand, are tiny: the largest virus is smaller than the smallest bacteria. All they feature is a protein coat and a core of genetic material, either DNA or RNA. They can only reproduce by attaching themselves to cells. In most cases, they reprogram the cells to make new viruses until the cells pop and die. Unlike bacteria, viruses can’t survive without a host. In other cases, they turn normal cells into malignant or cancerous cells.

In summary, to the key differences, a virus is smaller than a bacteria and requires a host in order to survive whereas a bacteria can survive in many different environments. Bacteria can also be friendly to humans. Also, unlike bacteria, most viruses do cause disease.
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