Viruses are obligatory parasites that can replicate only within a specific host. The evolution of viruses has taken an interesting shift with the emergence of new viral infections such as Hantavirus infection and the recent outbreak of Coronavirus infection.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Hantavirus
3. What is Coronavirus
4. Similarities Between Hantavirus and Coronavirus
5. Side by Side Comparison – Hantavirus vs Coronavirus in Tabular Form
What is Hantavirus?
Hantavirus was first isolated in South Korea. The virus was isolated in a rodent species that was subjected to a hemorrhagic fever near the Hantaan river. Thus, the virus was termed Hantavirus. The Hantavirus belongs to the family of Bunyaviridae. Hantavirus is an oval-shaped or a spherical shaped enveloped virus. The virus has a diameter of about 80 – 210 nm. It is composed of a negative-sense RNA genome that codes for special proteins like, viral dependent RNA polymerase and the glycoprotein precursor. The Glycoprotein precursor of hantavirus cleaves into two mature glycoproteins called G1 and G2, and G2 gives rise to the nucleocapsid proteins. The N protein of hantavirus is present in abundance in the Hantavirus infected cells; therefore, it may act as an important diagnostic marker.
Hantavirus also infects humans through a spillover infection. They cause two types of diseases: hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). The primary route of entry is the respiratory pathway through inhalation. The virus then inhabits the lungs. Then it spreads throughout the human body and infects dendritic cells. Next, the spread of the virus through the lymph takes place further, causing infection to macrophages, monocytes and other immune cells. The common symptoms of hantavirus infection include fever, myalgia, headache, cough, shortness of breath and nausea.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus belongs to the family of Roniviridae and the Nidovirales order. Coronavirus has a characteristic structure. They are spherical in shape and have a diameter of about 125 nm. The characteristic feature of coronavirus is its club-shaped spike projections that project from the surface. They give the virus an appearance like a solar corona. The virus has actually gained its name from this structure. Coronavirus is an enveloped virus with a helical symmetrical nucleocapsid. The genome of coronaviruses contains a positive-sense RNA. There are four main structural proteins in coronavirus. They are the spike protein, the membrane protein, the envelope protein and the nucleocapsid protein.
The primary host for coronavirus is predicted to be the bat; however, at present, the novel human coronavirus belonging to the beta coronavirus group has led to the cause of a pandemic affecting the global population. The coronavirus enters the human system via the respiratory route and affects the epithelial cells of the lungs, causing respiratory problems leading to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The common features include fever, cough, shortness of breath and headache.
What are the Similarities Between Hantavirus and Coronavirus?
- Hantavirus and coronavirus are obligatory parasites.
- Both are spherical in shape.
- Moreover, they are enveloped viruses.
- Both are RNA viruses.
- Both enter the human system through the respiratory route.
- They are nanometer in size.
- Polymerase Chain reaction tests can be used to diagnose both viruses in host systems.
- Both cause infections that show symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, and headache.
What is the Difference Between Hantavirus and Coronavirus?
Hantavirus and Coronavirus both belong to the group of retroviruses comprising of an RNA genome. Hantavirus has a negative-sense RNA genome while coronavirus has a positive-sense RNA genome. So, this is the key difference between hantavirus and coronavirus. Besides, coronavirus has crown-like spike projections while hantavirus does not.
The below infographic summarizes the difference between hantavirus and coronavirus.
Summary – Hantavirus vs Coronavirus
Hantavirus and Coronavirus are RNA viruses that cause various types of infections. The key difference between hantavirus and coronavirus depends on their genome. While hantavirus has a negative-sense RNA genome, coronavirus has a positive-sense RNA genome. Their structure also varies as coronavirus has addition spike-like projections on its spherical surface. Hantavirus leads to infections such as HPS and HFRS, while Coronavirus leads to infections such as SARS.
1. Fehr, Anthony R, and Stanley Perlman. “Coronaviruses: an Overview of Their Replication and Pathogenesis.” Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2015, Available here.
2. Mir, Mohammed A. “Hantaviruses.” Clinics in Laboratory Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2010, Available here.