Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Castro announced the equivalent of AU$3.7 Million in new funding for the country's top biomedical research institute's research into combating the Zika Virus.  About AU$1.33 Million would be dedicated would help finance a study to find a vaccine for the virus.

The remaining funding would go to a joint study by Brazil's research institute Fiocruz and the United States' National Institutes of Health into microcephaly.  Brazilian researchers have tentatively linked Zika to a surge in cases of microcephaly, a birth defect in which infants are born with abnormally small skulls and brains.

Meanwhile, Brazil's health ministry this week said the number of confirmed and suspected cases of microcephaly in the country has risen to almost 5,000 since last October.  More than a hundred have been reported in just the past week.

Zika isn't just a health threat, it's also playing havoc with Brazil's Olympic dreams.  Ticketbis, a marketplace for reselling tickets also purchased on the retail market, reports that demand for Olympic tickets has plunged since January, when news of the seriously of Brazil's Zika problem hit the world's headlines.  Empty stadiums and hotel rooms would only compound Brazil's economic woes, said to be the worst slump since the 1930s.