The SARS coronavirus is the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). In 2003 the World Health Organization issued a press release stating that the coronavirus identified by a number of laboratories was the official cause of SARS.
It causes severe illness marked initially by systemic symptoms of muscle pain, headache, fever, followed in 2-10 days by the onset of respiratory symptoms, mainly cough, dyspnea, and pneumonia. SARS patients have a decrease in the number of lymphocytes circulating in the blood. In the 2003 outbreak about 9% of patients with confirmed SARS infection died. For those over 50 the mortality rate almost reached 50%.
It is a positive, single stranded RNA virus belonging to the family of enveloped coronaviruses. It replicates like a typical coronavirus.