What are bacteria and viruses? Learn about their harmful effects, as well as the benefits some of them provide to humans.
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Definition of Bacteria ; Viruses
When you get sick, it’s probably because of a bacterium or virus. Bacteria and viruses are agents that can be dangerous to humans and other animals.
But bacteria and viruses are actually very different from each other.Bacteria are single-celled organisms that are alive, and can live inside the human body. Viruses on the other hand are particles made of DNA or RNA, a protein coat, and an envelope of lipids (fats). They’re not considered to be alive, since they can only reproduce by hijacking the ability of a nearby cell to reproduce. Viruses don’t have any cells themselves, so they’re not single-celled organisms; they aren’t organisms at all. Bacteria are tiny, and viruses are even more minuscule than bacteria.
In fact, there can be as many as a billion bacterial cells in a single gram of soil.While bacteria and viruses do make us sick in many cases, the truth is that bacteria and viruses can both help and harm humans. There are lots of bacteria in the body that we need to help digest our food, for example. Bacteria can live in symbiotic relationships with both plants and animals; relationships where both organisms benefit. In this lesson we’re going to talk about the damage caused by as well as the benefits stemming from both bacteria and viruses.
Bacteria ; Viruses Damage
Most bacteria and viruses have no negative effects, but the ones we notice are those that do. Bacteria and viruses can both cause damage to our bodies, but they work in different ways.
Bacteria can cause infections, and it’s those infections that make us sick. Bacteria that do this are called pathogenic. They can cause diseases like cholera, syphilis, tuberculosis, and bubonic plague.Viruses on the other hand cause diseases like the common cold, chickenpox, cold sores, Ebola, and AIDS.
The effects of viruses can be caused by different things depending on the virus. Sometimes the virus can kill too many cells, causing the organism to suffer ill effects. Sometimes it can cause infection in the same way as bacteria.There are both viruses and bacteria that can exist inside the body without any negative effects at all. For example, the virus that causes cold sores is found in most humans, even those who have never had a cold sore.
But some viruses, such as the AIDS virus or Ebola, can cause death.
Bacteria & Viruses Benefits and Uses
But bacteria and viruses can also benefit us. This is especially common with bacteria. Bacteria in our intestines work with our immune systems to fight pathogens, digest our food, and produce vitamin K. Without these bacteria, it would literally lead to death, which is why probiotics are all the rage these days. Our skin also contains bacteria that kill off a lot of nasty competitors: pathogenic bacteria and fungi that would otherwise try to invade. This leaves room for our immune systems to focus on internal issues.
Viruses can also be helpful, as we are discovering more all the time. The most obvious examples are weakened viruses found in vaccines, allowing our bodies to learn how to fight them off. But there are also viruses that fight harmful bacteria. Scientists have also suggested we could one day reprogram viruses to fight disease. In fact, we’ve already had some limited success fighting certain cancers using programmed viruses.
Bacteria are single-celled organisms that are alive, and can live inside the human body and are larger than viruses.
Viruses on the other hand are particles made of DNA or RNA, a protein coat, and an envelope of lipids (fats). Bacteria and viruses can make you sick. Some bacteria cause nasty infections, like tuberculosis and cholera, and viruses can kill human cells, like HIV or AIDs and Ebola, or just be annoying and cause a common cold.But there are also beneficial bacteria and viruses. Bacteria help us digest our food, fight dangerous pathogens, and produce vitamin K.
Viruses can teach our immune systems to better fight disease, fight harmful bacteria, and may one day help us fight diseases including cancer.