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Heroes of a different kind for the 21st century

In early March 2003, in reports buried under headlines that described preparations for war, Americans began to learn about an apparently new respiratory infection spreading from the Far East. As news of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, moved to the front pages, we learned about the immense effort of scientists around the world to track the disease, establish diagnostic criteria and a mechanism of contagion, determine a cause, develop diagnostic tests, and investigate possible treatments.