Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

Font Size

SARS Virus May Be Tough to Beat

Body's Immune Response to SARS May Wane Over Time, Researchers Say
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 13, 2007 -- New research shows that SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) may be a long-term challenge to the immune system.

SARS, which is caused by a virus, was big news in 2003, when SARS was first reported in Asia.

The 2003 SARS outbreak affected the Americas, Europe, and Asia, killing 774 people and sickening more than 7,000 others worldwide (including eight people in the U.S.), according to the World Health Organization and the CDC.

Scientists from China and the Netherlands studied 56 SARS survivors for three years after the patients recovered from SARS.

The researchers monitored the SARS survivors' antibodies to a virus linked to SARS.

Over time, levels of those antibodies declined in the former SARS patients. By the end of the three-year study, up to a quarter of the patients' blood samples had undetectable levels of the antibodies.

"Our data suggest that immune protection [against the SARS virus] may wane over time," write the scientists, who included Wu-Chun Cao, MD, PhD, of the State Key Laboratory of Pathogen and Biosecurity in Beijing.

Cao's team doesn't know whether those patients would be capable of fending off SARS a second time, based on their current level of antibodies.

Cao and colleagues report their findings in a letter published in today's edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Today on WebMD

man coughing
You may not even know you have it.
blood clot
Signs of this potentially fatal complication.
man coughing
When a cold becomes bronchitis.
human lungs
Causes behind painful breathing, fluid buildup.

chest x-ray
Bronchitis Overview
Copd Myth Fact Quiz
Energy Boosting Foods

woman coughing
Lung xray and caduceus