SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza: A Comparative Overview and Treatment Implications

Laura D. Manzanares-Meza and Oscar Medina-Contreras

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Alphainfluenzavirus are RNA viruses that cause coronavirus disease-19 and influenza, respectively. Both viruses infect the respiratory tract, show similar symptoms, and use surface proteins to infect the host. Influenza requires hemagglutinin and neuraminidase to infect, whereas SARS-CoV-2 uses protein S. Both viruses depend on a viral RNA polymerase to express their proteins, but only SARS-CoV-2 has a proofreading mechanism, which results in a low mutation rate compared to influenza. E1KC4 and camostat mesylate are potential inhibitors of SARS- CoV-2 S protein, achieving an effect similar to oseltamivir. Due to the SARS-CoV-2 low mutation rate, nucleoside analogs have been developed (such as EIDD-2801), which insert lethal mutations in the viral RNA. Furthermore, the SARS-CoV-2 low mutation rate suggests that a vaccine, as well as the immunity developed in recovered patients, could provide long-lasting protection compared to vaccines against influenza, which are rendered obsolete as the virus mutates.

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