Difference between Coronavirus and SARS

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) are both viruses that belong to the coronavirus family and cause respiratory infections. However, there are several significant differences between the two.

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 SARS?

Chronic Asthma Exacerbation happens when the asthma symptoms are intense and there is chronic inflammation and narrowing of the airways in the lungs. In chronic asthma, an asthma attack, is called a flareup or exacerbation. Triggers include −

  • Respiratory viral infection, mainly rhinovirus

  • Sensitizing agents

  • Allergens like pollen, cockroach droppings, weeds, animals, mold, grass, and dust mite

  • Air pollution, chemical fumes, household cleaners, strong alcoholic perfumes or other substances in the air

  • Stress and anxiety

  • Some medications like aspirin and other NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as naproxen and ibuprofen. Some beta-blockers – which treat glaucoma, high blood pressure, heart disease, and migraine

  • Illness like severe sinusitis (inflammation of sinuses), flu, heartburn and acid reflux

Differences: Coronavirus and SARS

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





Coronavirus is a newly discovered respiratory illness caused by a virus called 2019-nCoV.

SARS is a respiratory illness caused by a type of virus known as SARS-CoV.


The coronavirus was discovered in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

SARS was first noticed in southern parts of China in November 2002.


The diagnosis of coronavirus can be confirmed by means of a transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test developed by the CDC.

The diagnosis of SARS can be confirmed by means of indirect fluorescent-antibody detection, indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the reverse transcription PCR test.


The symptoms of coronavirus include coughing, fever, shortness of breath, and the development of pneumonia.

The symptoms of SARS include chills, fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing, muscle aches, and headache.


The transmission of coronavirus is not yet known but it is suspected to have spread from an animal host to people and is now transmitted person to person.

The transmission of SARS is from a bat to civet cats and into people, as well as from one person to another.


Treatment of coronavirus with antivirals has shown some success but mostly treatment is supportive care.

Treatment of SARS is mainly supportive care, but interferon seems to stop viral replication in laboratory studies.


The mortality rate of coronavirus is currently at 2%.

The mortality rate of SARS is at 10%.


While COVID-19 and SARS are similar in some ways, there are also several significant differences between the two. Understanding these differences is important for preventing and controlling the spread of these diseases and ensuring that people receive the appropriate care and treatment.

Updated on: 21-Apr-2023


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