University of Texas, Brazil to Work on Zika Vaccine
Today Brazil signed an agreement with the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston to jointly conduct research in order to develop a vaccine against the Zika virus, which was now been transmitted in the United States. University of Texas will work closely with Evandro Chagas Institute in the city of Belem as both facilities specialize in the study of mosquito borne-viruses.
The goal is to have a vaccine ready for clinical testing within 12 months.
Minister Marcelo Castro also said he made vaccine partnerships with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and would like to work with GlaxoSmithKline - a pharma giant that played a large role in developing a vaccine against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014.
The Zika outbreak has garnered international attention since the virus was linked to a growth of birth defects, which affect infant's brains. Though not scientifically proven, the CDC cites strong evidence that Zika in the blood of pregnant women is linked to microcephaly - a birth defect in babies that causes abnormally small heads and possibly death.
There has only been one case of Zika so far in Texas. The subject contracted the virus through having sexual intercourse with her partner, who traveled to one of the 26 countries where the virus has active outbreaks.