Answer Bank: Pathologically, how is COVID-19 different from SARS?

2020-03-03 16:28:25CGTN Editor : Gu Liping ECNS App Download
Special: Battle Against Novel Coronavirus

The ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak looks a bit like SARS in 2003, and many are comparing the two diseases in terms of pathology.

Bian Xiuwu, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said in an interview with CCTV on Monday that the degree of lesions on lungs of novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) patients is lower than SARS.

Pathological differences between the two diseases have been found through pathology observation and consultation with experts who diagnosed patients during the SARS outbreak, Bian told CCTV.

"The degree of alveoli damage and lung necrosis of COVID-19 is slightly lower than SARS," said Bian.

"Both of the viruses cause hyperplasia to alveolar epithelial, but the hyperplasia of SARS drops into the alveolar space while the hyperplasia of COVID-19 is more active.”

The academician explained that the two disease are different in terms of the degree and course of the fibrosis of alveoli.

However, Bian said that COVID-19 causes bigger damage to organs other than lungs.

"It means that other organs, especially the immune system (of COVID-19 patients), are under great attack," he said.

The study on the pathological differences between COVID-19 and SARS helps researchers to trace the source of the new virus, and understand the pathogenicity which helps for further prevention and control of the disease.

Yang Zhanqiu, a professor at The State Key Laboratory of Virology in Wuhan, said in a previous interview that the vaccine for SARS could be used for COVID-19 if the homology of the two viruses passed 90 percent.

"But if there is only 80 percent of homology, it means there is a huge difference between the two viruses," Yang explained, adding that in this case, the previous vaccine is ineffective for COVID-19.


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