Australia has prematurely abandoned its coronavirus vaccine project after some people who took the shot of the vaccine had a “false-positive” HIV test result.
Several trial participants who were given a shot of the prototype vaccine had tested positive for HIV, despite not having that virus.
The trial vaccine had used parts of a protein found in HIV, which triggered antibodies commonly seen during HIV testing.
The University of Queensland and the Australian biotech firm CSL had been conducting clinical trials on a prototype vaccine with the backing of the Australian government and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
But at a press conference Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the projected was terminated. He said:
We can’t have any issues with confidence. We are as a nation now, with a good portfolio of vaccines, able to make these decisions to best protect the Australian people.
Despite the false-positive HIV test results, the trial vaccine was showing promising signs in combating the coronavirus, the University of Queensland said in a Friday statement. It said:
The UQ-CSL v451 Covid-19 vaccine has shown that it elicits a robust response towards the virus and has a strong safety profile.
However, following consultation with the Australian Government, CSL will not progress the vaccine candidate to Phase 2/3 clinical trials.
There is no possibility the vaccine causes [HIV] infection, and routine follow-up tests confirmed there is no HIV virus present.
Prime Minister Morrison added that his government would increase orders of other vaccines, namely 120 million more doses of the Pfizer shot, 20 million more shorts of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and 11 million extra doses of the Novavax vaccine.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has directed that people with a history of significant allergic reactions should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer.
This directive came after two National Health Service (NHS) workers experienced symptoms on Wednesday after taking the vaccine.
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