Members of the Migente foundation check mosquito traps in the Paris neighborhood, Bello municipality, Antioquia department, Colombia on January 26, 2016. The Study and Control of Tropical Diseases Program  (PECET) of Antioquia's University released one year ago Aedes aegypti mosquitos carrying the Wolbachia pipientis bacteria, which prevents them from transmitting the Zika and dengue viruses, as part of project to fight dengue. The Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease suspected of causing serious birth defects, is expected to spread to all countries in the Americas except Canada and Chile, the World Health Organization said. AFP PHOTO /Raul ARBOLEDA
Members of the Migente foundation check mosquito traps in the Paris neighborhood, Bello municipality, Antioquia department, Colombia on January 26, 2016. The Study and Control of Tropical Diseases Program (PECET) of Antioquia's University released one year ago Aedes aegypti mosquitos carrying the Wolbachia pipientis bacteria, which prevents them from transmitting the Zika and dengue viruses, as part of project to fight dengue. The Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease suspected of causing serious birth defects, is expected to spread to all countries in the Americas except Canada and Chile, the World Health Organization said. AFP PHOTO /Raul ARBOLEDA

Wellington – Researchers will take around three to five years to develop a vaccine against the Zika virus, the Brazilian president’s chief of staff said, as the World Health Organisation declared a global health emergency over the disease.

Jacques Wagner said Brazilian researchers were working with researchers in the United States, Stuff.co.nz reports.

Wagner said that it could be three years if we are fortunate enough.

Wagner made the estimate just hours after the World Health Organisation declared an international emergency over the spread of Zika virus.

It was in line with previous estimates by health officials working to combat the spread of the virus.

The UN health agency yesterday convened an emergency meeting of independent experts in Geneva to assess the outbreak of the virus. The meeting was convened after noting a suspicious link between Zika’s arrival in Brazil last year and a surge in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads.

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