The COVID-19 pandemic – How many times were we warned before?

Naim Mahroum, Isa Seida, Sevval Nil Esirgün, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Infectious diseases are known to act in both predictable and unpredictable ways, which leads to the notions of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. Emerging diseases with their disastrous consequences might be surprising and unpredictable, but they could be foreseen. For instance, some emerging diseases and recently the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were the reason for papers published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other researchers addressing the likely pathogens causing future outbreaks, according to the reports of the WHO in 2016 and 2018. Although it might seem like a wisdom in retrospect, several studies had already indicated possible future outbreaks caused by coronaviruses. Announcements, which may be viewed as “warnings,” appeared since the emergence of the first coronavirus-related outbreak caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in the winter of 2002–2003 and a later outbreak caused by the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012–2013. Therefore, we were curious to review the medical literature prior to the COVID-19 pandemic with an aim to enumerate and evaluate studies addressing and warning against future outbreaks, and surprisingly pandemics, of members of coronaviruses. Interestingly, we found numerous studies that correctly predicted the current pandemic of COVID-19. While this part is highly interesting, how authorities reacted and prepared for warnings, if any, and how will they get prepared for the next warnings are our main messages. Taking these points into serious consideration will certainly aid in analyzing reports regarding possible future outbreaks as well as in developing various strategies for prevention and coping with such epidemics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Internal Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Coronaviruses
  • COVID-19
  • MERS
  • SARS
  • SARS-CoV-2


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