Brazil has just shown it is not folding its hands while Zika virus decimates its people, or to allow itself to be made the joke of speculations by medical researchers – it is now investing $1.9 million in a partnership with the University of Texas to develop a Zika vaccine that should be ready within the next 12 months - the New York Times reveals.
Brazilian health minister, Marcelo Castro, made this known during a news conference in his country, revealing that the University of Texas will work together with the Evandro Chagas Institute in the Amazonian city of Belem to get the task accomplished.
And that is not the end of the matter, Brazil has also reached out to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) over vaccine deals that will safeguard the peoples of Brazil from little-known new diseases like Zika.
Brazil’s Health Ministry had earlier said it might take between 3-5 years to develop an effective Zika vaccine, but having become the subject of an international debate and in the eye of the storm, it thinks it can be done in less than a year with international vaccine partnerships.
The CDC will be sending 15 researchers to Brazil on Friday to investigate the disease, and WHO director general Margaret Chan is scheduled to visit the country on February 23.
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The Aeges aegypti mosquito is linked to spreading the terrible disease which health experts now associate with birth defects and neurological disorders. Governments everywhere are advising their people to avoid traveling to 22 countries in South America, Asia, and the Caribbean with Zika outbreaks, and Kenya threatened to boycott the 2016 Rio Olympics unless it got assurance its athletes would not be exposed to the infection.