Difference between Coronavirus and Flu

The influenza virus and the coronavirus are both members of the same virus family. But, the huge family of viruses known as coronaviruses is much more dangerous and often deadly.

The symptoms of infection are comparable for both viruses. Coronavirus, on the other hand, can lead to pneumonia, renal failure, and even death. Yet, the lack of a vaccination for coronavirus infection is cause for concern.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a pandemic in which a virus is causing respiratory sickness and killing more people than the typical seasonal flu.

Genetics and origin of the coronavirus: The covid-19 coronavirus seems to have emerged originally in China, where it spread from an animal to a person. The specific host animal from which the virus originated is still up for contention. It has been discovered to be comparable to the SARS coronavirus, a single-stranded RNA virus with glycoproteins on its outer surface.

Symptoms and complications − A high temperature and a dry cough are the most noticeable and noticeable signs of covid-19 infection. However, the infection can cause serious lung damage in some patients, which can make breathing extremely difficult. This results in a lack of oxygen in the blood, which can lead to cardiac issues or failure of numerous organs. Age and health factors affect death rates, yet even young, seemingly healthy people might pass away.

Diagnosis A human sample can be tested using RT-PCR. Some nations now offer drive-through testing locations where anyone may pull up and have a sample taken for testing. The test is effective because it confirms a diagnosis by checking for the virus's unique genetic coding.

Transmission − It is believed that the coronavirus known as covid-19 is a zoonosis that was accidentally spread from an animal host to people. Human to human transmission then happened.

Risk factors and mortality − Mixing with infected people increases your risk, although you won't notice any signs for a time. While treating patients with covid-19, medical personnel are likewise at danger. Because of this, several nations have adopted policies of social isolation in an effort to lessen interpersonal contact. The largest fatalities occur amongst those older than 70 years and who have other ailments. Diabetes and heart disease appear to enhance the risk of covid-19 problems and mortality.

Treatment − Pain relievers are used to manage the symptoms, and the patient may also require fluids to help with the dehydration brought on by the fever, as well as supplementary oxygen for any breathing issues. In really severe circumstances the person may need to be on a ventilator to support breathing.

What is Flu?

The influenza virus causes a contagious illness that can be fatal, especially in those who are already weak or immunocompromised. The infection often spreads rapidly from human to human. Lungs, throats, and noses are common targets for the virus.

The virus may transmit from person to person through the air (through sneezing and coughing), through a handshake or embrace, through touching a contaminated surface like a doorknob, through drinking together, and through kissing.

Symptoms can be alleviated with the use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medicines. Preventing influenza and its effects with a seasonal flu shot or an annual vaccination is possible.

Differences: Coronavirus and Flu

The following table highlights the major differences between Coronavirus and Flu −





It is a novel coronavirus and also termed as Wuhan Coronavirus. It is very deadly and a member of the coronavirus family that has never been reported and encountered before.

Influenza or the flu is a viral infection of the air passage or the respiratory tract that spreads easily and swiftly from person to person.


Coronaviruses are a kind of viruses that trigger infection and diseases in birds and mammals.

In humans, infections like common cold and flu are caused by mild viruses. However, rare forms of viruses like the Coronaviruses – SARS-CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS‐CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) are the deadly and lethal.

The source of coronavirus has not been identified yet and it is still debatable that how easily it can spread. Coronaviruses has been identified and reported in several different animals, like bats, cats, cattle, and even snakes. This novel virus may be associated to wild creatures from the sea (seafood) and live animal market in Wuhan, China. The market has been reported to be closed after the coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus has been reported to be highly contagious and spreads from one to another person easily. A healthy person, if in close contact with the carrier or the infected person gets infected as well.

Like two other types of coronavirus – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS- CoV) (Outbreak in 2012 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS- CoV), the present Wuhan novel coronavirus also spreads through droplets when someone coughs or sneezes.

Many viruses cause flu. However, the most common culprit virus is rhinoviruses. The flu virus finds its way into the body through your eyes, nose and your mouth.

Droplets in the air are the carrier of flu virus and the virus spreads easily when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes or talks.


  • NL63 (alpha coronavirus)

  • 229E (alpha coronavirus)

  • HKU1 (beta coronavirus)

  • OC43 (beta coronavirus)

  • Influenza A – Influenza A virus subtype H3N2

  • Influenza B –Betainfluenzavirus

  • Influenza C –Orthomyxoviridae

Vaccine / Treatment

Wuhan new coronavirus has no vaccine available as of now. So, it can be said that there is no treatment available at this stage. It is believed that a vaccine would take at least a year.

Rest, fluids, flu jab, annual vaccination, and antiviral medications, such as zanamivir (Relenza), oseltamivir (Tamiflu), peramivir (Rapivab) or baloxavir (Xofluza) are some of the treatments available.

Pus filled

No pus

No pus but filled with fluid


  • Keloid scars- Nodular lesions caused due to repair mechanisms meant to heal injuries to the body organs

  • Pulmonary modules – nodular lesions in inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis

  • Granulomas – nodular lesions occurring in conditions like Tuberculosis

  • Sebaceous cysts – formed over the skin and possess a bluish discoloration. Surgery is mostly recommended in these kinds of cysts in order to prevent them from getting an infection.

  • Dermoid cysts – A sac-like non-cancerous lump in the skin

  • Painful Bartholin cysts – these develop in the females in Bartholin glands

  • Cysts in the internal organs such as thyroid gland, ovaries, and kidney


While the flu and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses, there are several key differences that make COVID-19 a much more dangerous and unpredictable virus. It is important for individuals to understand these differences and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others from the spread of COVID-19.

Updated on: 04-Apr-2023


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