- Associated Press - Thursday, March 10, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Brazil’s health minister said Thursday that the country’s top biomedical research institute is getting $2.8 million to fund studies aimed at combatting the Zika virus.

Health Minister Marcelo Castro said over a $1 million would help finance a study to find a vaccine for the virus, which Brazilian researchers have tentatively linked to a surge in cases of microcephaly, a birth defect that affects infants’ skulls and brains.

The remaining funding will go toward a study on Zika and microcephaly to be jointly conducted by the Brazilian research institute Fiocruz and the United States’ National Institutes of Health.

Castro made the announcement during a visit to Fiocruz’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. President Dilma Rousseff was also at Fiocruz for meetings with officials there but left without speaking to the media.

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