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University of Queensland terminates COVID vaccine trial after ‘unexpected’ results

  • December 11 2020
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University of Queensland terminates COVID vaccine trial after ‘unexpected’ results

By Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
December 11 2020

Australia has terminated its COVID-19 vaccine trial after several test participants returned false HIV results during Phase 1 of the trial.

University of Queensland terminates COVID vaccine trial after ‘unexpected’ results

University of Queensland terminates COVID vaccine trial after ‘unexpected’ results

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  • December 11 2020
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Australia has terminated its COVID-19 vaccine trial after several test participants returned false HIV results during Phase 1 of the trial.

University of Queensland terminates COVID vaccine trial after ‘unexpected’ results

While the University of Queensland (UQ) and CSL announced on Friday that the Phase 1 trial of their COVID-19 vaccine has shown that it elicits a “robust response” towards the virus and has a “strong safety profile”, UQ confirmed that the government has pulled the plug on further trials.

Australia has been anticipating an update from the University of Queensland after it commenced a Phase 1 trial of their COVID-19 jab candidate – V451 – in July 2020.

That announcement came on Friday, with UQ revealing that “there were no serious adverse events of safety concerns reported in the 216 trial participants”. However, several trial participants did return false positive HIV test results.

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As a result, the government has decided to terminate its $1 billion deal with UQ and global biotech company CSL, after agreeing to buy over 50 million doses.

Defending its position, UQ explained on Friday that the generation of antibodies directed towards fragments of a protein, which is a component used to stabilise the vaccine, may cause a partial immune response, but that it was unexpected that the levels induced would interfere with certain HIV tests.

UQ confirmed, however, that there “is no possibility the vaccine causes infection”, and routine follow-up tests confirmed there is no HIV virus present. 

But it did admit that for the vaccine to be rolled out, “significant changes” would need to be made to well-established HIV testing procedures in the healthcare setting.

Professor Paul Young, UQ vaccine co-lead, said that although it was possible to re-engineer the vaccine, the team did not have the luxury of time needed.

“Doing so would set back development by another 12 or so months, and while this is a tough decision to take, the urgent need for a vaccine has to be everyone’s priority.

“I said at the start of vaccine development that there were no guarantees, but what is really encouraging is that the core technology approach we used has passed the major clinical test. It is a safe and well-tolerated vaccine, producing the strong virus-neutralising effect that we were hoping to see,” Mr Young said.

“So, we will continue to push forward, and we are confident that with further work, the Molecular Clamp technology will be a robust platform for future vaccine development here in Australia and to meet future biosecurity needs.”

The UQ V451 vaccine was one of four the Australian government had hoped would be successful in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

University of Queensland terminates COVID vaccine trial after ‘unexpected’ results
University of Queensland terminates COVID vaccine trial after ‘unexpected’ results
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About the author

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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of nestegg and Smart Property Investment. Email Maja at [email protected]

About the author

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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of nestegg and Smart Property Investment. Email Maja at [email protected]

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