The mysterious virus first emerged in the winter in eastern China, a never-before-seen pathogen that would rattle the world’s sense of safety and ignite a global panic.

In the months that followed, hundreds of people began seeking medical treatment because they were coughing, struggling to breathe and, in some cases, approaching death.

Scientists racing to quell the outbreak determined the source was a novel strain of coronavirus. The World Health Organization called for immediate action to prevent the global health threat from sweeping across multiple continents and killing thousands.

It was early 2003, the beginning of the battle against severe acute respiratory syndrome, more commonly known as SARS. The SARS outbreak was the first deadly epidemic caused by a coronavirus.

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