South Africa health products regulator said on Monday that it would not approve Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine because of concerns that it would increase the risk of HIV infection in men.
The decision was based on earlier studies testing the safety of a modified form of adenovirus — a type of virus that causes respiratory infections — known as the Ad5 and contained in the Russian jab.
“Use of the Sputnik V vaccine in South Africa, a setting of a high HIV prevalence and incidence, may increase the risk of vaccinated males acquiring HIV,” the South African Health Product Regulatory Authority said in a statement.
It added that the company behind the application for the use of Sputnik V in South Africa had no proof the formula would be safe “in settings of high HIV prevalence”.
The country worst hit by the pandemic in Africa also has the world’s highest number of people living with HIV.