Viruses and bacteria: A brief explanation of the differences

Viruses are one hundred times smaller than bacteria and are therefore only visible under an electron microscope. This does not mean, however, that bacteria are huge in comparison. Science defines their sizes as between 0.6 and 1 micrometers (1 millimeter corresponds to 1,000 micrometers).

Bacteria are living organisms. But what about viruses?
Compared to viruses, bacteria have the more complex structures. They have a cell wall and an internal structure and metabolic processes take place in every cell. In addition, bacteria proliferate during cellular division. Because bacteria can reproduce independently, they are considered living things from a biological perspective.

Viruses, on the other hand, consist of a protein shell containing genetic information. Unlike bacteria, viruses can only reproduce if they find a host, i.e., foreign cells of another living organism. To do this, they infiltrate foreign cells and insert their genetic material. From this point on, the virus takes over the cell.

Virus StructureBacteria Structure

Mutation as a survival strategy
Because viruses are dependent on the life energy of their host, they act aggressively. Part of this strategy is that viruses mutate and adapt to new conditions. We know this phenomenon well from flu vaccinations. Formulas used the previous year are not necessarily effective the following year, because the virus may have mutated.

Scientists estimate that there are about 320,000 types of viruses and two-thirds of all virus-related diseases originate in animals.

When viruses and bacteria “cooperate.” Super infections
If the human body is weakened by a virus, the immune system fights against the invaders. It is precisely in such situations that supplementary bacterial infections commonly put additional strain on the immune system. Such situations are called super infections.

What many viruses have in common is their path into the human body. After all, not every infection occurs as a result of droplets or the coughing of another person. Hands also play a key role in transmitting infection. Supplementary hygiene measures to interrupt the chain of infection include permanent antimicrobial protection for surfaces with high contact frequency. Such treatments can be applied directly to plastic materials and surface foils/packaging, or be integrated into paints or varnishes. By integrating this antimicrobial function, the growth and proliferation of bacteria on these surfaces can be demonstrably reduced. As this effect is durable, hygiene measures in clinics or retirement homes are further improved. Hygiene is thus boosted, even between cleaning cycles.

SANITIZED AG is a technology partner of the global plastics industry for such topics.
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