The anthrax virus can attack the lungs– The white powder may have contained anthrax virus and the authorities — The virus responsible for the d– NOT virus. Bacterium. For everyday folks, the term virus usually means an invisibly small… whatever, that’s responsible for the zombie apocalypse but can at least make you sick. As such, it’s synonymous with bacteria but easier to pronounce, thus making word repetition avoidable in the evening news. In reality, however, they are very different. Yes, both of them could ruin your Sunday with coughing, explosive diarrhea, and profuse blood-vomiting but they substantially differ from each other in size, structure and biology. Bacteria are cellular creatures of microscopic size: most of their bodies consists of the cytoplasm, a gooey organic substance, in which a bunch of biochemical processes take place. These processes together form the actual life of the bacterium and they’re regulated by the genetic material sloshing about in the cytoplasm known as DNA or de***cid. Argh! F***g curse filter! Khm… To keep the cytoplasm from flowing everywhere, it is surrounded by a membrane and here we have a functioning bacterium which feeds from its surroundings and as it becomes fat enough, it divides. Viruses are way more simple. They are dwarves compared to bacteria with their tiny shells only surrounding their genetic material which can either be DNA or r****cid. Oh, g***it! Without cytoplasm, viruses are like Anton Chekhov tragedies: nothing happens in them. There are no biochemical reactions, no life processes, the virus doesn’t do anything, it just… is. Like people on reality-shows. But if it doesn’t do anything, how does it reproduce? A virus can be regarded as a message in a bottle. Whenever it comes across a susceptive cell of a higher organism, it gets picked up, and the cell will read its genetic material. CELL: May the Devil’s ass f**k you in the ears! Pass it on! Based on the information in the virus’s genetic material, the biochemical processes of the cell will start replicating the virus, which usually does not result in a happy ending for the cell. The main difference between the two pathogens is that bacteria are alive, they have their own metabolism, they feed, they reproduce – it’s a miracle they don’t have to pay taxes – while viruses don’t strictly speaking live: they’re just packaged codes waiting for a host cell to replicate them. Viruses, therefore, rely upon invading other organisms to survive: some attack people, others prey on animals or plants, even bacteria aren’t safe from them. In the meantime bacteria can peacefully exist in the soil, in natural waters, in the drain or in leftover hot dogs without causing any trouble. You even carry them on your skin and in your guts and no harm is done to you. On the contrary: Every fart that ever cracked you up was a product of bacteria! Of course, plenty of them cause diseases but we can’t lump them together with viruses because their biological differences affect our means of combating them. As long as they are outside the body, rules of general hygiene apply the intensity of which is dependent on the specific pathogen: sometimes it’s enough to wash hands, other times we hysterically splatter bleach all over the place. Pathogens that have already entered the body have to be treated differently because you can’t just pour acid over them or tickle them with flames. Unless you want to kill the patient as well, you have to target the pathogens specifically. In the case of bacteria, this can be achieved with antibiotics. Antibiotics wreck the special biochemical processes of bacteria making them die miserably while apologizing. The biochemical processes of the cells of the patient are different enough from those of the bacteria for antibiotics not to affect them… much. We can’t pull the same trick on viruses because, if you recall, there are no biochemical processes in viruses. If you’ve ever tried parachuting with an anvil, you have an idea of just how effective antibiotics against viruses are. The biochemical processes of viruses are performed by the host cells during their everyday activity, so we cannot block them without seriously damaging the host and triggering malpractice lawsuits. However, there ARE antiviral drugs which can block special elements of the host-virus interaction, elements that don’t exist during normal cellular functioning, and therefore will not be missed, such as the act of viral entry into the cell. Antiviral drugs are not good against all viruses and even in cases when they are, they’re not as effective as antibiotics against bacteria. But do not despair, there is another weapon against viruses, namely the unstoppable power of love… I mean, vaccines. They are not for curing viral diseases, though, but for preventing them. Of course, many bacterial infections can be fought with vaccines as well but generally speaking, vaccines are used more often against viruses because, as a rule of thumb, the more simple a pathogen’s structure is, the better vaccines work against it. And viruses are simple. On the particle accelerator – Hodor complexity scale used by scientists, viruses are pretty close to the latter. Way closer than bacteria. There are, of course, plenty of exceptions to this rule, so the golden age of viruslessness has not yet begun but is this really our biggest problem when socks with flip-flops is still a thing? Summing it up: Viruses and bacteria, although both potential pathogens, differ greatly in their structure and their biology calling for different methods of combating them. Antibiotics left over from treating grandpa’s pus-oozing tooth are not going to work on your flu. WOMAN: Couldn’t we try it anyway just a little– NO!!! Mixing them up in a conversation is not a deadly sin but it is ill-advised if you work in the media as it could lead to television sets getting damaged. Health. It makes you live longer. WITNESS: I don’t know… Number three maybe? POLICE: Are you sure? WITNESS: No, wait! He was wearing glasses, so… number four. The technical information in this video was fact-checked by Tamás Bakonyi, veterinarian, virologist, demon hunter. I thank him very much! If you’ve made it this far, why not like, comment or subscribe? Or check out my other videos! I know it would make at least one of us happy.