RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Castro on Thursday announced a partnership between Brazil's Evandro Chagas Institute and the University of Texas to produce a vaccine against the Zika virus.

The virus has recently become an international health issue with suspected links to microcephaly. It is also believed to trigger Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disease, in individuals with a propensity for the disease.

According to Castro, the two institutions will work to speed up initial research, and a vaccine might be ready for a two-year test in 12 months.

"We know it will take time but we are optimistic that we can develop the vaccine in a shorter time," said Castro.

The Brazilian government will invest 1.9 million U.S. dollars in the project while the amount to be invested by the U.S. side is yet to be disclosed.