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Brazil to fund Zika virus vaccine development

The Brazilian government is to fund a biomedical research centre to help develop a vaccine against a virus linked to brain damage in babies.

Health minister Marcelo Castro aims to develop a prevention for Zika, which is spread through mosquito bites, "in record time".

Zika infection in pregnant women has been linked to a rare condition called microcephaly, in which the baby's head is smaller than normal, meaning the brain does not develop properly.

Brazil's health ministry said 3,530 babies have been born with microcephaly in the country since October.

The move comes after US health chiefs issued an alert on Friday advising pregnant women to avoid travelling to Brazil and several other countries in the Americas where Zika outbreaks have occurred.

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