The World Health Organization says that, so far, the H1N1 virus hasn’t mutated into a more deadly strain.
However, WHO officials are warning that the pandemic will hit poor countries especially hard. At the United Nations meeting in New York later this week, those officials plan to ask wealthy countries to contribute to a special fund for the developing world.
Michael Novacek, the provost of science at the American Museum of Natural History, joins Daljit Dhaliwal to discuss the dangers and the production and distribution of vaccines.
In China, a massive campaign to vaccinate people against swine flu began in Beijing on Monday. It is thought to be the first nation to begin inoculating its population against the H1N1 virus.
China has been among the world’s leaders in developing a swine flu vaccine, with no fewer than five Chinese drug makers involved in the effort. Chinese officials hope to vaccine 65 million people by the end of the year — about five percent of that country’s population.
In Mexico, officials are predicting as many as five million cases of swine flu this winter, with some 2,000 deaths. Earlier this year, Mexico was ground zero for the pandemic, but was able to bring it under control by shutting schools and businesses for several weeks.
This time, Mexican officials are promising such closures will be more focused; just recently, some 1,400 schools in one northern city in Mexico were closed after a reported outbreak.
Swine flu has hit South America hard. Brazil is now reporting some 900 deaths due to the pandemic, more than any other country in the world. According to the World Health organization, there are now nearly 300,000 case of swine flu worldwide, with nearly 3,500 deaths.