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Texas and Brazil Partner|to Develop Zika Vaccine

HOUSTON (CN) - One year for a Zika vaccine is the goal of a partnership signed by a University of Texas research hospital and Brazil, its health minister announced Thursday.

Marcelo Castro said his government will invest $1.9 billion in the partnership between the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and an institute in Brazil.

As evidence mounts that the virus is causing birth defects and other serious health problems in Latin America, both the United States and Brazil are now fighting back with their checkbooks.

In Bethesda, Maryland last week the National Institutes of Health announced it is funding research to establish conclusively whether Zika causes microcephaly, a birth defect of the head.

A spokeswoman for UTMB Galveston said the staff is too busy this week to interview. She said they were working on proposals for the National Institutes of Health competitive grant.

President Barack Obama on Monday called on Congress to authorize $1.8 billion in emergency funding to boost vaccine research, educate doctors and pregnant women and help the dozens of nations with active Zika cases fight the Aedes mosquito, the species that transmitsthe virus.

Castro also announced at Thursday's news conference that Brazil will work on vaccines with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that it hopes to partner with the drug maker GlaxoSmithKline because it developed an Ebola vaccine, the Associated Press reported.

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