Australia stops COVID-19 vaccine trials after HIV antibody detection

Australia has suspended one of its four COVID-19 vaccine candidates in its phase 1 clinical trials after it was found that many volunteers in the study were developing antibodies for HIV.

The v451 COVID-19 vaccine candidate was being developed by Australia’s University of Queensland and biotech company CSL before suspension. Though the detection of HIV antibodies suspended further trials of the vaccine, there were no serious cases reported with the 216 participants that participated in the trial.

The official announcement from the researchers notes that some participants began fragments of an HIV protein named gp41. After consulting with the Australian government, the researchers decided not to move forward with phase 2 and 3 trials.

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The v451 vaccine candidate was one of four vaccine candidates that the Australian government had committed to buy. It had even placed an order for 51 million doses of the experimental vaccine. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the abandoning of the trial shows the haste and careful proceeding mentality of the Australian researchers.

“What happened today is not a surprise to the Government. We are moving swiftly but not with any undue haste,” he said. He added that the system’s working as it should and Australians are protected, as always. The statement by the University of Queensland mentions that more careful testing in regards to HIV should be established in healthcare during the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Australia.

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Source: The Hindu

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