SYDNEY – Clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Australia’s University of Queensland in partnership with biotech company CSL have been abandoned after participants returned false positive HIV test results. The treatment was a key part of Australia’s response to the pandemic, and the government had signed a deal to buy 51 million doses.
Vaccines typically take years of painstaking research to develop, but COVID-19 has sent scientists around the world racing to find an effective treatment.
The Australian government was no different, but it has announced the sudden termination of clinical trials of a vaccine being developed at the University of Queensland.
A small component of the experimental drug was derived from the human immunodeficiency virus, also known as HIV. It is used to give the vaccine stability, helping it to recognize and then neutralize the coronavirus. Some participants recorded false positive HIV test results. Researchers have stressed that the treatments are harmless and do not expose patients to the risk of disease.
Biotech giant CSL, which has worked alongside the university team in Queensland, has insisted the vaccine had a “strong safety profile.” Phase one clinical trials involving 216 people began in July. Phases two and three have been canceled.