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Difference Between COVID-19 & Influenza

Published On Jun 02, 2020 5:30 AM By Sakshi Aggarwal

Difference Between COVID-19 & Influenza - Influenza and the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) appear to be similar as both are respiratory diseases and have common symptoms. In addition, both the viruses are transmitted via contact with infectious respiratory droplets. 

However, COVID-19 and influenza differ in many important ways discussed below. 

What's the flu? What are some of those differences and how they matter?

To answer this question, we are highlighting 6 important points in this article. Based on them, it is easy to understand the differences between COVID-19 and influenza (flu).

Transmission Time of Viruses 


Transmission of the virus in the first 3 to 5 days of illness or before the appearance of symptoms is a major driver when it comes to the transmission of influenza. 

On the other hand, a coronavirus patient can spread COVID-19 virus 24-48 hours before symptoms onset. 

Causative Agents


An obvious difference between influenza and COVID-19 can be seen in their causative agents. For instance, influenza viruses come from a virus family called Orthomyxoviridae and COVID-19 virus is caused by a newly discovered coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2). SARS-CoV-2 is classified in the family Coronaviridae. 

Reproductive Number 


According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the number of secondary infections from an infected person is between 2 and 2.5 for coronavirus - higher than for influenza. However, WHO also states that estimating COVID-19 and influenza viruses are very time-specific. So, making direct comparisons is difficult. 

Role of Children in Virus Transmission


When it comes to influenza virus transmission in the community, children have been reported to be important drivers. In contrast, children are less affected than adults when it comes to coronavirus. So, children are not the major drivers of COVID-19 virus. 

Vulnerable Groups 


Going ahead with other differences between COVID-19 and influenza, those most at risk for COVID-19 are the older age people and those underlying chronic health conditions. On the other hand, children, elderly, pregnant women, and those with underlying chronic medical conditions are at a major risk for severe influenza infection. 

Medical Treatment


While a large number of clinical trials for the development of COVID-19 vaccines are in process on the global ground, there are currently no licensed vaccines or medicines available for the coronavirus treatment. 

Influenza vaccine has been used to kill coronavirus, but it has not been very effective against the disease. On the other hand, the same vaccine is highly recommended for people to prevent influenza infection.

Also Read

Differences Between Bacterial & Viral Infection

Insurance Companies To Offer COVID-19 Specific Insurance Plans

"Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard." 

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