Australian biotech company CSL announced on Friday the suspension of vaccine tests developed with the University of Queensland because an unknown number of participants in phase 1 gave false positives for HIV tests.
CSL explained that while no adverse effects were shown in the Phase 1 trials, which began last July and involved 216 people, the scientific data revealed that the antibodies that developed In this process, they had interfered with the HIV diagnosis, opening the way for false positives, according to Efe.
The Australian vaccine uses the protein found in HIV as a ‘clamp’ molecular structure that researchers placed in the spikes that surround the coronavirus and allow it to enter healthy cells, reports The New York Times. This protein is what allows the immune system to respond more effectively to the vaccine.
In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) to announce this decision that was taken with the Australian government, CSL Chief Scientific Officer Andrew Nash noted that in early vaccine development there is always a ‘ risk of failure.
To further develop the UQ / CSL v451 vaccine – which has been shown in phase 1 to have “A robust response” to the new coronavirusas well as ‘a strong safety profile’ – significant changes would need to be made to the project.
“This It would delay us another twelve months or more. It was a very tough decision to make, but currently there is an urgent need to have a vaccine and this is the priority, ”stressed Paul Young, one of the leaders of the vaccine project at the University of Queensland.
Alternative vaccines for Australia
Following the decision, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in Canberra on Friday that his government will order an increase from 33.8 million to 53.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine and from 40 to 51 million doses. of the Novavax vaccine.
“AstraZeneca vaccines, of course, will be produced by CSL in Melbourne“Said Morrison, insisting that” health and safety has been the starting point for all of our responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. “
The Australian government, which is planning provide the vaccine since March against Covid-19, it also has an agreement with BioNtech-Pfizer, to acquire and transport ten million of this vaccine that needs to be kept at a temperature of 70 degrees below zero.
Australia, where an emphasis has been placed on tracking systems, has accumulated almost 28,000 infections since the beginning of the pandemic, including 908 deaths, most of them due to the Melbourne outbreak.