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SARS: No evidence that any of the treatments worked

ients who developed a dangerous complication called acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Researchers conducted a comprehensive search for information from research studies that fitted carefully pre-defined selection criteria. They found 54 SARS treatment studies, 15 in- vitro studies, and three acute respiratory distress syndrome studies. Some of the in-vitro studies with the antiviral drugs found that a particular drug reduced the reproduction rate of the viruses, but most of the studies of these drugs in patients were inconclusive. Of 29 studies on steroid use, 25 were inconclusive and four found that the treatment caused possible harm.

From the published studies, it is not possible to say whether any of the treatments used against SARS were effective. It is now many months since any new cases have been reported, but it is possible that the same or a similar virus might cause outbreaks in the future. It is disappointing that none of the research on SARS so far is likely to be useful in helping to decide on the best treatments to use in such an outbreak. The authors examined the weaknesses of the studies they found and urge that more effective methods of research should be applied in any future outbreaks. Their recommendations mean that researchers should be better prepared to learn from potential future outbreaks.

Citation: Stockman LJ, Bellamy R, Garner P (2006) SARS: Systematic review of treatment effects. PLoS Med 3(9): e343.

PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030343

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-03-09-stockman.pdf

Related image for press use: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-03-09-stockman.jpg

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Source:Public Library of Science


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