Comparative Review of SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and Influenza A Respiratory Viruses

Frontiers in Immunology
Zeinab AbdelrahmanXiaosheng Wang


The 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has caused a global health emergency. The outbreak of this virus has raised a number of questions: What is SARS-CoV-2? How transmissible is SARS-CoV-2? How severely affected are patients infected with SARS-CoV-2? What are the risk factors for viral infection? What are the differences between this novel coronavirus and other coronaviruses? To answer these questions, we performed a comparative study of four pathogenic viruses that primarily attack the respiratory system and may cause death, namely, SARS-CoV-2, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV), and influenza A viruses (H1N1 and H3N2 strains). This comparative study provides a critical evaluation of the origin, genomic features, transmission, and pathogenicity of these viruses. Because the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 is ongoing, this evaluation may inform public health administrators and medical experts to aid in curbing the pandemic's progression.


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