The key difference between coronavirus and rhinovirus is that coronavirus is an enveloped virus which possesses a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry and crown-like projections on the surface while rhinovirus is a non-enveloped virus which possesses a nucleocapsid of icosahedral symmetry.
Viruses are infectious particles. In fact, they are noncellular infectious entities whose genome is a nucleic acid, either DNA or RNA. They are obligate intracellular parasites that reproduce in a living host cell and use the cells biosynthetic mechanism to direct the synthesis of virion particles. They are very small and are only visible under the electron microscope. Viruses are pathogenic nucleoproteins which can infect almost all types of living organisms including, animals, plants, protozoa, fungi, bacteria and archaea, etc. Among different animal viruses, coronavirus and rhinovirus are two viruses that are known to cause respiratory illnesses.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Coronavirus
3. What is Rhinovirus
4. Similarities Between Coronavirus and Rhinovirus
5. Side by Side Comparison – Coronavirus vs Rhinovirus in Tabular Form
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a large family of viruses. The name ‘corona’ was given to this virus family as they have crown-like projections on their surface. Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses having helical-shaped nucleocapsids. Coronaviruses cause illnesses ranging from common cold and pneumonia to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). These viruses infect the respiratory tract of mammals, including humans. People of all ages are susceptible to this virus. They can also affect the gut of mammals. The common symptoms of coronavirus infection are a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and possibly a headache.
There are different types of coronavirus. According to records, there are six different types of human coronaviruses. Generally, coronavirus can be transmitted from animals to humans. When people have weakened immune systems, this virus spreads from person to person through droplets carrying the virus. Therefore, touching or shaking hands with an infected person, making contact with the objects having the virus, etc. can cause the spread of the virus. Therefore, in order to prevent the spreading of this virus, it is necessary to take precautions such as wearing surgical face masks, washing your hands using soap for at least 20 seconds, avoiding close contact with infected people, etc.
A novel coronavirus has been identified recently from the seafood market in Wuhan city, China. It has caused more than 106 deaths and more than 4,515 infected persons around the world. According to the latest updates, this virus has affected nearly 60 million people around the world. Moreover, this virus has been spread to other countries confirming 62 cases in 17 places outside of mainland China. This virus has posed a great impact on the national economy and public health around the world. This novel Wuhan coronavirus is an ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness that has become a global concern now.
Unlike other viruses, human coronavirus is difficult to cultivate in the laboratory. Hence it is not easy to treat it or develop a new vaccine against it.
What is Rhinovirus?
Rhinoviruses are the primary cause of the common cold. They cause 10% – 40% of colds. In fact, rhinovirus is the most common viral infectious agent in humans. But unlike other viruses that cause the common cold, rhinoviruses rarely make us seriously sick.
Rhinoviruses belong to the genus Enterovirus in the family Picornaviridae. Structurally, rhinovirus is a non-enveloped virus which is icosahedral in symmetry. Moreover, rhinovirus has a single-stranded positive-sense RNA genome.
What are the Similarities Between Coronavirus and Rhinovirus?
- Coronavirus and rhinovirus are two types of viruses that cause commonest viral infections in human.
- Both can cause the common cold.
- They cause infections in the respiratory tract of mammals.
- Moreover, they are single-stranded positive-sense RNA viruses.
- Both coronavirus and rhinovirus transmit via aerosols of respiratory droplets and direct person-to-person contact.
- Symptoms of both viral infections include sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing and cough.
- There are no vaccines developed for both types of viruses.
What is the Difference Between Coronavirus and Rhinovirus?
Coronavirus is an enveloped virus that possesses crown-like projection on its surface. In contrast, rhinovirus is a non-enveloped virus and is icosahedral in structure. So, this is the key difference between coronavirus and rhinovirus. Coronavirus belongs to virus family Coronaviridae while rhinovirus belongs to family Picornaviridae. Structurally, coronavirus is an enveloped virus having a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry while rhinovirus is a non-enveloped virus having a nucleocapsid of icosahedral symmetry.
The below infographic summarizes the difference between coronavirus and rhinovirus.
Summary – Coronavirus vs Rhinovirus
Coronavirus and rhinovirus are two types of single-stranded positive-sense RNA viruses. They are responsible for the common cold in humans. Coronavirus is an enveloped virus and has a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry. Rhinovirus, on the other hand, is a non-enveloped virus and is icosahedral in structure. Therefore, this is the key difference between coronavirus and rhinovirus. Moreover, rhinovirus rarely causes serious illnesses, but coronavirus can cause serious illnesses such as SARS and MERS. Also, rhinovirus is the predominant cause of the common cold, while coronavirus causes about 20% of the cold.
1. Renton, Adam. “Coronavirus Outbreak: Latest World News and Live Updates.” CNN, Cable News Network, 28 Jan. 2020, Available here.
2. “Rhinovirus.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Jan. 2020, Available here.
1. “Coronaviruses 004 lores” By CDC/Dr. Fred Murphy – from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Image Library (PHIL) (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Rhinovirus” By Robin S assumed (based on copyright claims). – Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia