Zika Virus: Obama, Rousseff share concerns      

WASHINGTON: Brazil and the United States agreed Friday to launch a high-level bilateral group to develop a vaccine against the Zika virus that has spread rapidly across the Americas and been linked to microcephaly.

President Dilma Rousseff and her US counterpart Barack Obama discussed their “shared concerns” about the virus’ progress, the White House said.

“The leaders agreed on the importance of collaborative efforts to deepen our knowledge, advance research and accelerate work to develop better vaccines and other technologies to control the virus.”

It said the pair also “agreed to continue to prioritize building national, regional and global capacity to combat infectious disease threats more broadly.”

Rousseff’s office said the bilateral group would “develop a partnership in the production of vaccines and therapeutics.”

It will be based on an existing cooperation agreement between Brazil’s Butantan Institute of biomedical research and the US National Institutes of Health to develop a vaccine against dengue.

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