Generally speaking, treatment for SARS focuses on providing relief of symptoms and complications while the patient's body fights the SARS virus. Since there is currently no cure that can kill the virus, treatment may require hospitalization for intensive supportive care, including providing patients with IV fluids, medications, and breathing support.
About 2 to 10 days after the SARS virus has infected a person, the person may begin developing SARS symptoms. There is currently no treatment that can kill the SARS virus. Therefore, treatment for SARS is focused on providing relief of symptoms and complications as the body fights the SARS virus.
SARS treatment requires hospitalization for intensive supportive care. This supportive care can include:
- Intravenous (IV) fluids
- Medications, including antibiotics, steroids, and/or antivirals
- Breathing support from a ventilator
- Prevention of secondary infections
- Good nursing care.
Research scientists continue to look for medications to treat the SARS virus; they are also trying to develop a vaccine to prevent SARS.
At this point, intensive and supportive medical care is the primary SARS treatment. However, the SARS virus is being tested against various antiviral drugs to see if an effective SARS treatment can be found. While several compounds have shown antiviral activity, only alpha interferon is suitable for immediate clinical evaluation.
As more information about the mechanisms of the SARS virus infection are being researched, research scientists are beginning to design drugs specifically aimed at its weak points. One such project is developing an "entry inhibitor" that prevents the SARS virus from infecting human cells.