WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Scientists in Brazil have found that the Covid vaccine they received from Russia carried a virus that causes the common cold.
- According to scientists, the virus can cause safety issues in people with compromised immune systems.
- The vaccine’s developer denied the allegations.
Brazil is banning Russia’s Sputnik V Covid vaccine. The country’s health regulator said the vaccine that was sent to them carried a live version of the virus that causes the common cold.
If the problem turns out to be widespread, top virologist Angela Rasmussen believes it could pose a threat to the health of people with weak immune systems. She also said that the finding “raises questions about the integrity of the manufacturing processes.”
Gamaleya Institute, the vaccine’s developer, has denied the reports.
The virus allegedly found in the vaccines is the “adenovirus vector” virus, which normally causes mild respiratory illness. But it is genetically modified in vaccines so it can carry signal human cells to produce the spike protein of the coronavirus, and not replicate. This prepares the body in case it is infected with the real coronavirus.
There are two different adenovirus vectors in the Sputnik V vaccine. The first shot has the adenovirus type 26 (Ad26), while the second shot has the adenovirus type 5 (Ad5).
According to a presentation uploaded by Brazil’s Anvisa scientists online, they found that the adenovirus still replicates inside the body when they tested samples of the booster shot.
They believe that the problem occurred to “recombination,” which means the modified adenovirus regained the genes it needed to multiply while it was being grown in the lab.
The first shot was not evaluated by Brazilian regulators.
Rasmussen, a research scientist at Canada’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, said the error is a quality control issue. If the vaccine is widely distributed, it will likely cause severe adverse effects on people with weak immune systems. But in general, the adenoviruses are not considered really important human pathogens, Rasmussen said.
But she added that the bigger problem is how this finding affects people’s confidence in the vaccine, which The Lancet journal earlier described as safe and more than 90 percent effective. Rasmussen people might have reservations about getting the vaccines if they aren’t sure whether the shot they are receiving is the same as what was studied in the trials.
It’s also not clear whether the manufacturing problem that caused the recombination kills the DNA code that signals the production of the spike protein of the coronavirus, making it ineffective against COVID-19.
Denis Logunov, Gamaleya Institute’s deputy director, responded to the allegations, saying: “The statements I have read in the press have nothing to do with reality.” He insisted that adenovirus vector in the vaccine cannot replicate.
Source: France 24