The Differences of SARS, MERS and COVID-19 and How to Compare Them

The Differences of SARS, MERS and COVID-19 and How to Compare Them

It still stays in our mind about SARS and MERS which infected a lot of people and how it became a serious issue in the world. Although they are from same virus group (coronavirus), but there are differences in their transmission speed and the treatment. Incubation for MERS is 2-14 days (average 5 days), SARS is 1-14 days (Average 4-5 days), while for COVID-19 is 1-14 days (Average 5 days).1

Most of the time, human coronaviruses cause mild respiratory illnesses like the common cold. In fact, four types of human coronaviruses cause 10 to 30 percent of upper respiratory tract infections in adults.2

COVID-19 seems not to be very different from SARS regarding its clinical features. However, it has a fatality rate of 2.3%, lower than that of SARS (9.5%) and much lower than that of MERS (34.4%). The possibility cannot be excluded that because of the less severe clinical picture of COVID-19 it can spread in the community more easily than MERS and SARS.3 Sometimes very hard to compare the SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 because it is basically has similar symptoms.

Research has identified horseshoe bats as the natural reservoir of SARS-CoV. Civets and animals in wet markets also likely contributed to the virus crossing from animals into humans. According to the WHO, direct or indirect contact with dromedary camels is the most common route of infection. The MERS-CoV virus has similarities to European bat coronaviruses. SARS , MERS have significantly higher case fatality rates than COVID-19. Yet COVID-19 is more infectious — the underlying SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads more easily among people, leading to greater case numbers.4

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is the clinical syndrome associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection; it is characterized by a respiratory syndrome with a variable degree of severity, ranging from a mild upper respiratory tract illness to severe interstitial pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) [2e4]. Although SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the same Betacoronavirus genus as the coronaviruses responsible for the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) (SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, respectively), this novel virus seems to be associated with milder infections. Moreover, SARS, MERS were associated mainly with nosocomial spread (A nosocomial infection is contracted because of an infection or toxin that exists in a certain location, such as a hospital)5, whereas SARS-CoV-2 is much more widely transmitted in the community.6 Scientists are still trying to determine how Covid spread from an animal to reservoir to people.7 Although so far Bat is suspected as the reservoir.

Overall, the symptoms of COVID-19 and SARS are similar. But there are some subtle differences.8

Common symptomsfever,
shortness of breath
body aches and pains,
shortness of breath
Less common symptomsrunny or stuffy nose,
muscle aches and pains,
sore throat,
chills (with or without repeated shaking),
loss of taste,
loss of smell



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