What is the difference between viruses and bacteria, and what do they really do with us when we get sick?
Each bacterium consists of one cell and the bacteria become more by dividing. Viruses are much smaller than bacteria. They are also not cells, but consist of a piece of code, or genome. The genome tells how copies of the virus should look like. Viruses also have a thin shell, or casing.
Viruses are microorganisms that cannot multiply themselves
In order to reproduce, they send in their inheritance into another cell. Now the cells are being tricked into making thousands of copies of the virus. When it’s ready, the copies get out of the cell. Then the cell often dies and the copies sneak into new cells. The virus is also spread between people. Some spread through the air, others via blood or dirty water. Some viruses infect very easily.
There are only some viruses that can multiply in humans
Others use animals, plants, fungi and even bacteria. Viruses consist of DNA or RNA that is surrounded by a protein coat. That allows it to adhere to a cell and then penetrate it and take over it. Against viruses there is usually no cure. The body’s own immune system must take care of the disease in order for it to heal. Giving antibiotics does not help! However, there are a few so-called antiviral agents that can help speed up the healing process.
It has been discovered that there are over 600 different kinds of viruses that can infect us humans. A virus can also infect bacteria and is then called bacteriophages. Many of these viruses are normally found in us humans. But they usually do not cause disease because our immune system keeps track of them. These viruses can cause a symptom if the body’s immune system is impaired due to e.g. another disease.
That we feel bad of some viruses depends on several things
The virus kills cells and it releases substances that we are sensitive to. The body’s own immune system also contributes to our being sick, for example by getting a fever.