7 Differences Between Coronavirus and Influenza

COVID 19 disease mortality rate is significantly greater than the influenza virus

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that although the new corona virus and influenza virus can cause respiratory diseases, there are several differences.

On March 6, 2020, the WHO published an overview of the 7 leading differences between the coronavirus disease 2019, known as COVID-19, and the influenza virus.

These highlighted differences are as follows:

  • First, the speed of propagation is different. Neocoronary (Coronavirus) pneumonia spreads more slowly than influenza but has a longer median incubation period.
  • Second, patients transmit the virus at different times. Influenza virus transmission mainly occurs within 3 to 5 days after a person begins to develop symptoms, and may also spread before symptoms appear. In contrast, although some cases of neo-coronary pneumonia can spread the virus 24 to 48 hours before the onset of symptoms.
  • Third, the contagious power is different. Based on an assessment of the number of basic infections, neo-coronary pneumonia is more infectious than influenza, and one patient can infect about 2 to 2.5 people. However, the assessment of the infectivity of the two viruses is related to specific circumstances and time.
  • Fourth, the rate of severe illness is different. Data to date indicate that 80 percent of neo-coronavirus infections are mild or asymptomatic, 15 percent are severe infections, and 5 percent are very severe infections. The proportion of severe and very severe infections is higher than that of influenza.
  • Fifth, there is a difference between susceptible people. The main risk groups for influenza include children, pregnant women, the elderly, people with other chronic diseases, and people with immune system problems. For new coronary pneumonia, current research shows that the elderly and people with other diseases face a higher risk of serious infections.
  • Sixth, the mortality rate is different. Although it will take some time to determine the mortality rate of new coronary pneumonia, the current data indicates that the mortality rate of new coronary pneumonia is about 3 to 4 percent. While the seasonal flu mortality rate is usually much lower than 0.1 percent.
  • Seventh, medical interventions are different. Antiviral drugs and vaccines are available for influenza, but no new coronary pneumonia vaccine or treatment is currently licensed. 

The WHO said that many therapeutic drugs are currently undergoing clinical trials in China, and more than 20 vaccines are being developed. 

While the influenza vaccine is not effective against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, it is highly recommended that everyone gets vaccinated each year to prevent influenza infection.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a list of approved influenza vaccines each year. For the 2019-2020 Northern Hemisphere flu season, the CDC’s list of approved flu shots is published on this page.

Additionally, the CDC antigenically characterizes a subset of influenza viruses by hemagglutination inhibition (HI) or neutralization, based Focus Reduction assays (FRA). 

The annual antigenic drift is evaluated by comparing antigenic properties of cell-propagated reference viruses representing currently recommended vaccine components with those of cell-propagated circulating viruses. 

So far this flu season, the CDC has antigenically characterized 363 influenza viruses collected in the United States from September 29, 2019, to February 29, 2020. 

SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development news published by Precision Vaccinations.