There are reports going viral on social media platforms claiming that booster shots of COVID-19 can make a person susceptible to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection. However, experts have said that these claims are baseless. These claims are related to French virologist Luc Montagnier. This is because Montagnier died earlier this month. The French virologist was a joint recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovery of the HIV. The virus attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the white blood cells called CD4 cells, and can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Ever since Montagnier died, such messages started doing rounds on Twitter.
“For those of you that have taken the third dose, go and take a test for AIDS. The results may surprise you. Then sue your government,” one of the post said.
Several experts have now said that there is no evidence behind these claims.
“I don’t see why would a booster lead to a positive HIV test. We should not be carried away by misinformation and information that are not evidence-based,” virologist Upasana Ray, senior scientist at Kolkata’s CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, was quoted as saying by PTI.
According to Immunologist Vineeta Baal, the vaccines available for COVID-19 do not in any way promote susceptibility to HIV infection. Bal also emphasized that there was nothing to indicate that the French virologist made the claim.
Virologist Naga Suresh Veerapu too said that there is no link between COVID-19 vaccination and HIV infection. “On a related note, Covid vaccination neither can cause infection with SARS CoV-2 nor with the virus used as the vector for vaccine preparation,” Veerapu, associate professor at Shiv Nadar University, Delhi-NCR, told PTI
It is pertinent to mention that last year a COVID-19 vaccine was found to interfere with HIV tests. The vaccine was developed by Australia’s University of Queensland. However, routine followup tests confirmed that there was no HIV virus present.