• Users Online: 938
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

Table of Contents
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-5

The lessons learned from previous coronavirus infections should be used to contain future outbreaks

1 Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases Unit, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Pathology, Microbiology Unit, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Date of Submission06-Dec-2020
Date of Acceptance12-Dec-2020
Date of Web Publication06-Jan-2021

Correspondence Address:
Aynaa Alsharidi
Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases Unit, King Saud University, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jnsm.jnsm_161_20

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Alsharidi A, Binkhamis K. The lessons learned from previous coronavirus infections should be used to contain future outbreaks. J Nat Sci Med 2021;4:4-5

How to cite this URL:
Alsharidi A, Binkhamis K. The lessons learned from previous coronavirus infections should be used to contain future outbreaks. J Nat Sci Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 11];4:4-5. Available from: https://www.jnsmonline.org/text.asp?2021/4/1/4/306260

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause mild-to-moderate common cold disease.[1] However, since the first emerging severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002, coronaviruses got the scientists' attention worldwide.[2] Ten years later, another novel human coronavirus infection, named Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), was reported from Saudi Arabia in September 2012.[3] MERS-CoV disease has been linked to an epidemic outbreak not only in Saudi Arabia but also in more than 27 countries in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia.[4] Since its emergency through March 2020, the total number of laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV infection cases reported globally to the World Health Organization is 2553 with 876 (34.3%) associated deaths.[5] MERS-CoV fatality rate has been an alarming signal to be prepared for other novel coronavirus diseases, which is the case with coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), caused by SARS coronavirus 2 (CoV-2).[6]

However, COVID-19 disease has run rampant, and the pandemic is still unfolded globally.[7] International health agencies have called for many infection control policies and procedures to reduce viral transmission risk, including accelerated vaccine development. Nevertheless, many countries could not overcome the first outbreak wave, and some are facing the second one.[8] It is unclear if such a progression in the disease epidemiology represents a failure of applying the infection control policies or due to the virulent behavior of SARS-CoV-2. The strict mitigation measures that have been applied by the government of Saudi Arabia will, hopefully, keep the disease under control and decrease the number of infected cases until the pandemic is over.[9]

Saudi Arabia's experience with the previous MERS-CoV outbreak has helped the country to contain COVID-19 pandemic.[10] For instance, the study done by Al-Motiri et al. in their paper published in this issue of the Journal of Nature and Science of Medicine has identified the gaps in knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) of laboratory staff MERS-CoV infection.[11] Even with the identified KAP gaps, the majority of the study participants performed well with questions related to laboratory best practices. In addition, it showed that 65.6% of the participants had attended training courses about MERS-CoV infection, which has been reflected in their KAP scores. Such experience with MERS-CoV has prepared us well for COVID-19 infection. Many hospitals inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have conducted different mandatory infection control training courses and COVID-19 educational seminars for their employees. It has ultimately protected our patients and the surrounding community as well.

The lessons learned from SARS, MERS-CoV, and COVID-19 infections should prepare us for what the future holds. We have to be alert for any evolving novel viral diseases. Invest in the best diagnostic modalities. Exercise rapid response infection control strategies for any suspected biological threats. Ensure the power of optimum KAP among all health-care professions to overcome any future health-related crisis.

  References Top

Monto AS. Medical reviews. Coronaviruses. Yale J Biol Med 1974;47:234-51.  Back to cited text no. 1
Zhong NS, Zheng BJ, Li YM, Poon LLM, Xie ZH, Chan KH, et al. Epidemiology and cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Guangdong, People's Republic of China, in February, 2003. Lancet 2003;362:1353-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
Zaki AM, van Boheemen S, Bestebroer TM, Osterhaus AD, Fouchier RA. Isolation of a novel coronavirus from a man with pneumonia in Saudi Arabia. N Engl J Med 2012;367:1814.  Back to cited text no. 3
Available from: https://www.who.int/csr/don/05-may-2020-mers-saudi-arabia/en/. [Last accessed on 2020 Dec 06].  Back to cited text no. 5
WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard. Available from: https://covid19.who.int. [Last accessed on 2020 Dec 06].  Back to cited text no. 6
Available from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019. [Last accessed on 2020 Dec 06].  Back to cited text no. 7
Lai JW, Cheong KH. Superposition of COVID-19 waves, anticipating a sustained wave, and lessons for the future. Bioessays 2020;42:e2000178.  Back to cited text no. 8
Barry M, Ghonem L, Alsharidi A, Alanazi A, Alotaibi NH, Al-Shahrani FS, et al. Coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Mitigation measures and hospital preparedness. J Nat Sci Med 2020;3:155.  Back to cited text no. 9
  [Full text]  
Algaissi AA, Alharbi NK, Hassanain M, Hashem AM. Preparedness and response to COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia: Building on MERS experience. J Infect Public Health 2020;13:834-8.  Back to cited text no. 10
Al-Motiri NM, Khan SA, Khan AA. Knowledge, attitude, and practice study of laboratory staff toward Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. J Nat Sci Med 2020;4:25-32.  Back to cited text no. 11


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded129    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal