Advancements in the battle against severe acute respiratory syndrome.Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2004 Aug; 5(8):1687-93.EO
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a newly emerged infectious disease with a significant morbidity and mortality. The major clinical features include persistent fever, chills/rigor, myalgia, malaise, dry cough, headache and dyspnoea. Respiratory failure is the major complication of SARS and approximately 20% of patients may progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome requiring invasive mechanical ventilatory support. However, the severity is much milder in infected young children. Treatment of SARS was empirical in 2003 due to our limited understanding of this new disease. Protease inhibitors (lopinavir/ritonavir) in combination with ribavirin may play a role as antiviral therapy in the early phase, whereas the role of IFN and systemic steroid in preventing immune-mediated lung injury deserves further investigation. Knowledge of the genomic sequence of the SARS coronavirus has facilitated the development of rapid diagnostic tests. In addition, other antiviral treatment, RNA interference, monoclonal antibody, synthetic peptides, and vaccines are being developed. This paper provides a review of the epidemiology, clinical features and possible treatment strategies of SARS.