Hong Kong: A Chinese virologist who helped fight severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and bird flu warned on Monday of a possible swine flu pandemic that countries such as China and India would be ill prepared to handle.
“We are counting down to a pandemic,” said Guan Yi, a professor at the University of Hong Kong who helped trace the outbreak of SARS in 2003 to the civet cat.
“I think the spread of this virus in humans cannot possibly be contained within a short time...there are already cases in almost every region. The picture is changing every moment.”
Guan said there would be “many problems” if swine flu reached China and India, “where populations are so dense and health infrastructure is still insufficient”. The virus, carrying swine, avian and human DNA and called H1N1, has killed up to 103 people in Mexico, infected 20 in the US and six in Canada.