Difference Between Coronavirus and Rhinovirus

There are two types of viruses, each of which replicates in the cytoplasm of its host cell and both of which are composed of single-stranded RNA. Respiratory diseases can be caused by a number of different viruses, but two of the worst are rhinoviruses and coronaviruses.

Common cold symptoms are thought to originate from these viruses. The symptoms of a cold or the flu, such as a persistent cough, a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat, and nasal congestion, are shared by both the Coronavirus and the Rhinovirus. Both are transmitted by close personal contact, as well as via the airborne respiratory droplets and aerosols.

For these viruses, there is also no preventative vaccine. There are, however, several key distinctions, which will be elaborated upon below.

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 Rhinovirus?

The common cold is mostly caused by rhinovirus. Ten percent to fortieth percent of all colds can be traced back to them. The human population is disproportionately affected by this virus, which is responsible for a wide variety of viral diseases. Rhinoviruses are the most prevalent cause of the common cold, although unlike other cold viruses, they usually don't cause any significant illness.

Rhinoviruses are the most prevalent cold virus, responsible for around half of all cases.

Differences: Coronavirus and Rhinovirus

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





The crown-shaped projections seen on the surface of the coronavirus gave rise to the name. "Corona" translates to "crown" or "halo" in Latin. This virus features a crown-like protrusion on its enclosed surface.

In most cases, people catch it from infected animals. The virus rapidly spreads from person to person, making those with compromised immune systems particularly vulnerable.

Rhino in rhinovirus comes from the Greek word for "nose," hence the name. This virus has no envelope and an icosahedral shape.

In addition to causing the common cold, this virus also worsens asthma, bronchitis, and viral pneumonia.

Similar to Coronavirus in symptoms, mode of transmission, and approach to treatment.


  • MERS-CoV, which causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

  • 229E (alpha coronavirus)

  • (SARS-CoV), which causes Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

  • NL63 (alpha coronavirus)

  • OC43 (beta coronavirus)

  • HKU1 (beta coronavirus)

  • Human Rhinovirus A – consists of the following 80 serotypes: rhinovirus (RV) A1, A2, A7, A8, A9, A10, A11, A12, A13, A15, A16, A18, A19, A20, A21, A22, A23, A24, A25, A28, A29, A30, A31, A32, A33, A34, A36, A38, A39, A40, A41, A43, A45, A46, A47, A49, A50, A51, A53, A54, A55, A56, A57, A58, A59, A60,A61, A62, A63, A64, A65, A66, A67, A68, A71, A73, A74, A75, A76, A77, A78, A80, A81, A82, A85, A88, A89, A90, A94, A96, A100, A101, A102, A103, A104, A105, A106, A107, A108, A109.

  • Human Rhinovirus B – cconsists of the following 32 types: rhinovirus (RV) B3, B4, B5, B6, B14, B17, B26, B27, B35, B37, B42, B48, B52, B69, B70, B72, B79, B83, B84, B86, B91, B92, B93, B97, B99, B100, B101, B102, B103, B104, B105 & B106.

  • Human Rhinovirus C – These viruses have been referred to as HRV-A2 due to its closer relationship with RV-A

Structure of the virus

It is an enveloped virus that has a nucleocapsid (the capsid of a virus with the enclosed nucleic acid) of helical symmetry (symmetry in which protein subunits and the nucleic acid are arranged in a helix) and crown like projections on the surface.

It is a non-enveloped virus which possesses a nucleocapsid (the capsid of a virus with the enclosed nucleic acid) of icosahedral symmetry (virus consisting of identical subunits that form 20 equilateral triangular faces)

Genome size

Coronavirus genome size ranging from 26 to 32 kilobases in length

Rhinovirus genome size is 7200 and 8500 nucleotides

Family and Genus

Genus: Betacoronavirus

Family: Coronaviridae

Genus: Enterovirus

Family: Picornaviridae


While both Coronavirus and Rhinovirus are respiratory illnesses, they are different in terms of their severity, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. It is important to be aware of these differences and take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of these viruses.

COVID-19 is a serious illness, and it is essential to take precautions such as wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands frequently to prevent its spread.

Updated on: 17-Apr-2023


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