Zika Virus: Brazil Could Develop Vaccine in ‘One Year’


A Zika vaccine is expected to be developed within the year, health experts in Brazil have disclosed.  Brazil has agreed to collaborate with the University of Texas to develop the vaccine. The aim is to take the vaccine for clinical tests within the next 12 months.

The Brazilian government will invest $1.9 million in a joint effort with the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and the Evandro Chagas Institute in the Amazonian city of Belem.

The health ministry has already signed agreements with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are hoping to work with pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, which also developed a vaccine against Ebola during a fatal breakout in West Africa in 2014.

The vaccine will be tested on mice and monkeys for fast output. Health Minister Marcelo Castro said that Brazilian counterpart will meet the representatives of U.S. Food and Drug Administration and will ensure to start the clinical test as soon as possible. The vaccine could be out for public distribution in three years.

On Thursday, Brazil’s Health Ministry confirmed third adult death linked to Zika. A 20-year old woman died after a 12-day treatment in hospital. Health experts said that her blood report revealed pneumonia as the core reason, but the blood samples also showed positive results for Zika, according to a report by The Washington Post.

“She could have developed bronchial pneumonia and the association with the Zika virus made this worse,” said Pedro Vasconcelos, the Brazilian government scientist who led the tests.

Brazil reports the worst number of cases among all South American countries. There are more than 4100 cases of Zika reported since October, 2015 than 150 cases in 2014. Until now, there are 404 confirmed cases in Brazil. Pregnant women are at high risks of getting infected. Health authorities are repeatedly advising to void pregnancy and mosquito bite.

There have been several deaths related to Zika. In Colombia, the cases of Zika infection has increased.  In fact three died due to a form of paralysis known as Guillain-Barré syndrome, which showed links to Zika.

World Health Organisation(WHO) declared worldwide emergency. The virus is suspected to be linked with a medical condition called “microcephaly”, which causes health anomalies in newly borns like small heads. The link has not been confirmed scientifically. Health authorities are repeatedly advising women to avoid pregnancy and mosquito bite, according to a report by BBC.

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