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Difference Between Coronavirus and Rhinovirus

  • Post last modified:February 13, 2023
  • Reading time:4 mins read
  • Post category:Biology

Definition of Coronavirus and Rhinovirus

Coronavirus: A type of virus that can cause respiratory illness in humans and animals, including the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) which causes the COVID-19 disease.

Rhinovirus: A type of virus that is a common cause of the common cold and respiratory infections in humans. It is a member of the picornavirus family, which also includes poliovirus and the foot-and-mouth disease virus.

Importance of understanding the difference

Understanding the difference between Coronavirus and Rhinovirus is important for several reasons:

  1. Health management: Recognizing the symptoms and the severity of each virus can help individuals make informed decisions about seeking medical attention and taking proper precautions to avoid spreading the virus to others.
  2. Prevention: Knowing the transmission methods of each virus can help individuals take necessary precautions, such as wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and regularly washing hands, to prevent the spread of the virus.
  3. Misinformation: With the ongoing pandemic, there is a lot of misinformation and confusion surrounding the symptoms and transmission of these viruses. Understanding the difference between Coronavirus and Rhinovirus can help individuals avoid spreading false information and panic.
  4. Public health policy: Accurate understanding of the differences between these viruses can inform public health policies and decisions about resource allocation, vaccine development, and disease control strategies.

Understanding the difference between Coronavirus and Rhinovirus is important for maintaining public health and preventing the spread of illness.

Differences between Coronavirus and Rhinovirus

Coronavirus and Rhinovirus differ in the following ways:

  1. Transmission:
    • Coronavirus spreads primarily through respiratory droplets, but can also spread through touching contaminated surfaces and then touching one’s face.
    • Rhinovirus primarily spreads through close contact with an infected person or touching contaminated surfaces.
  2. Symptoms:
    • Coronavirus symptoms can range from mild to severe and can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, and loss of taste or smell.
    • Rhinovirus symptoms are typically milder and can include runny nose, sore throat, and congestion.
  3. Severity:
    • Coronavirus can be severe and even life-threatening, especially in elderly individuals and those with underlying health conditions.
    • Rhinovirus is typically milder and less severe, causing cold-like symptoms that typically resolve on their own.
  4. Vaccines:
    • There is currently a vaccine available for the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
    • There is no vaccine available for Rhinovirus.
  5. Duration:
    • Coronavirus can lead to a prolonged illness, sometimes lasting several weeks, whereas
    • Rhinovirus symptoms typically resolve within a few days to a week.

Similarities between Coronavirus and Rhinovirus

Coronavirus and Rhinovirus have the following similarities:

  1. Both are respiratory viruses: Both viruses primarily affect the respiratory system, causing symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing.
  2. Both can cause respiratory illness: Both Coronavirus and Rhinovirus can cause respiratory illness in humans, ranging from mild to severe.
  3. Spread through respiratory droplets: Both viruses can spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
  4. Contagiousness: Both viruses are highly contagious and can spread easily from person to person, especially in crowded and enclosed spaces.
  5. Seasonal patterns: Both viruses are more common in the fall and winter months, which is why they are often referred to as “cold viruses”.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Rhinovirus are both respiratory viruses that can cause illness in humans. However, they differ in terms of transmission, symptoms, severity, and available treatments. It is important to understand these differences in order to take appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of the virus and to seek medical attention if needed. Additionally, staying informed and relying on credible sources of information can help prevent the spread of misinformation and panic. With proper understanding and prevention measures, we can work towards controlling the spread of these viruses and maintaining public health.

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