EU to grant S$15.7 million for Zika virus research

The European Union will grant 10 million euros (S$15.7 million) to finance research about the Zika virus.
The European Union will grant 10 million euros (S$15.7 million) to finance research about the Zika virus.PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO - The European Union (EU) will grant 10 million euros (S$15.7 million) to finance research about the Zika virus, the bloc's Ambassador to Brazil Joao Gomes Cravinho said on Tuesday (Feb 16).

He made the announcement after a meeting with Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Castro and 24 ambassadors of EU countries, Xinhua news agency reported.

"We left this meeting more prepared to correctly inform people about the reality of the Zika virus," Mr Cravinho was quoted as saying.

Latin America has been witnessing an outbreak of Zika. Cases of Europeans who presented symptoms of the virus after a trip to the region have been reported.

The disease became a great source of concern after the discovery of its relation with microcephaly and Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Over 400 cases of microcephaly in newborns were confirmed in Brazil, though not all of them were confirmed to have been caused by an infection of Zika during gestation.

Brazilian scientists also announced that microcephaly is not the only condition which can result from the Zika virus: they analysed brain tissue of stillborn babies whose mothers had been infected with Zika and found traces of the virus. Not all of them had microcephaly - at least one had a different malformation which is believed to have been caused by the virus. In addition, many of the babies with microcephaly born from mothers who had Zika in Brazil also presented eye lesions.