By: Tommy Koh , Aileen Plant and Eng Hin Lee

"It is now thought that SARS is a zoonosis that originated in the Guangdong region of China (adjacent to Hong Kong) as a result of a coronavirus spreading from civet cats to humans owing to the local 'insatiable appetite for exotic cuisine made from freshly slaughtered wild animals'. Unfortunately a local doctor infected with the virus travelled to Hong Kong in February 2003, infecting several other travellers, who subsequently spread the disease around the world … Scientific innovation led to rapid development of systems that usually take years – for example, the modification of military infra-red night vision equipment into a system for mass fever screening in airports and public buildings. The story of the international race to identify the coronavirus genome is well told, as is that of the infection control measures undertaken in hospitals and institutions."

Link to full book review in the British Medical Journal