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Three Deaths in Brazil Linked to Zika Virus, Aims for a Vaccine in a Year

Update Date: Feb 15, 2016 02:19 AM EST

Laboratory tests done recently identified Zika virus infection that affected three people who later died in Brazil last year, said the Health ministry on Thursday. However, the authorities did not specify if it was Zika alone that was responsible for the death of these people.

Health Minister of Brazil, Marcelo Castro, issued an official statement in a press conference that they are in partnership with University of Texas that could lead to the development of the vaccine by the end of this year. However, he added, that a complete cure for this mosquito-borne disease may take longer, reported Reuters. The latest developments are an extension of Brazil's ongoing battle with Zika which has spread to more than 30 countries.

The ministry revealed that the Brazilian researchers discovered the virus in a woman's body aged 20-years who belonged to Rio Grande do Norte in the Northeastern state of the country. Last year she died due to respiratory problems. Other two patients also succumbed to complications that arose because of the virus infection, says The Wenatchee World
Alarms have been raised due to possible link between the virus and the birth defect that causes the babies to take birth with unusually small head and in many cases even brain damage. The Brazilian authorities are already investigating 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly, reported Daily Mail

According to the experts, three deaths reportedly caused by the virus in Brazil need further research and investigation. "We have not seen reports of deaths of adults directly linked to the viral infection," said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, the WHO assistant director-general for health systems and innovation.

"The direct causality is still to be demonstrated but the association in time and location seems to be clear. We have a few more weeks to be sure to demonstrate the causality, but the link between Zika and Guillain-Barre is highly probable," Kieny said, reported CNN

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