SARS vaccine: A vaccine to protect against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The SARS epidemic surfaced early in 2003 and a crash program was soon begun to develop a vaccine directed against the coronavirus that causes SARS. No licensed vaccine had hitherto been developed for any human coronavirus. Other coronaviruses are among the viruses that cause the common cold.
Coronaviruses cause a number of serious diseases in animals. The US Department of Agriculture has consequently licensed some 170 vaccines to protect against coronavirus infections in five species of animals -- cats, cattle, dogs, poultry and other birds, and pigs. This extensive experience with animal coronavirus vaccines catalyzed progress toward a SARS vaccine.