BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s National Development Bank will provide 500 million reais ($136.6 million) in funding to fight mosquito-borne illnesses, including the Zika virus, the bank said in a statement on Wednesday.
The funds are to help bolster the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illnesses spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, including dengue, chikingunya, and Zika, which has spread rapidly across the Americas in recent months.
The bank, known as the BNDES, said the funds include credit worth 350 million for private biotech companies working to develop technology against the illnesses.
Brazil is dealing with a dengue epidemic and has seen a surge in cases of microcephaly and other birth defects associated with the Zika virus since last year.($1 = 3.6597 Brazilian reais)
Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Chris Reese