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Fears over HIV keep South Africa from using Sputnik vaccine


The South African Health Products Regulator, Sahpra, has refused to approve Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine due to concerns that it could increase the risk of HIV infection in men.

Adenoviruses used in the Russian vaccination were tested for their safety in two earlier studies.

The Gamaleya Institute, which developed Sputnik V, said it would produce information to show that Sahpra’s concerns were completely unfounded.

The country has the highest HIV burden in Africa. It has about 7.8 million cases of HIV among its population of over 60 million people, according to UNAids. Men aged 15-49 make up 13.5% of the HIV-positive population.

Sahpra said its concerns followed consultations with local and international experts.

So far, COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and Sinovac have been approved in South Africa.

The World Health Organization has not yet approved Sputnik V for emergency use. At least 45 countries are administering the vaccine, including Zimbabwe and Namibia.

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HIV Pfizer Sahpra South Africa Sputnik


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