In the four months since the World Health Organization (WHO) issued global warnings about a mysterious and deadly virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has taken the lives of more than 800 people.
In this article, Nature's reporters ask some key questions about the outbreak, such as: Was the fuss overblown? Are we prepared for the next viral threat? Are drugs for SARS on the horizon? What about a vaccine?
Following an announcement by WHO last week, the global outbreak has now officially been contained. But SARS should be seen as a warning shot. If the virus had been more infectious, the world could now have been facing millions of deaths.