Are nurses ready to get a SARS vaccination?
In 2003 there was a SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak that infected thousands of people and killed over 700. The SARS outbreak was caused by a novel coronavirus, the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Besides some laboratory infections, no one has been infected with SARS since 2003. At that time scientists worked hard to develop a SARS vaccine in the event that the outbreak could not be contained.
Why is this ancient public health history important?
Because a new novel coronavirus has emerged in the Middle East in the past few months that is infecting people. It has infected at least 9 people in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. It seems to be virulent disease, five of the nine have died, and based on limited data from Jordan and Saudi Arabia it seems to be capable of human-to-human transmission.
Here are some links for more information.
WHO Coronavirus infections
CDC Novel Coronavirus
WHO Interim surveillance recommendations for human infection with novel coronavirus Dec 3, 2012
You can be sure that the scientists are already cultivating strains in a laboratory to prepare a vaccine for this new coronavirus in the event that it starts looking like a pandemic virus. Just as we were debating the H1N1 vaccine in 2009, we might be debating a new SARS-like vaccine in the near future if we start seeing local epidemics from this new coronavirus.