Coronavirus Australia: UQ COVID vaccine deal cancelled after HIV false positive results in participants

The University of Queensland-CSL coronavirus vaccine will be abandoned after participants returned false positive HIV tests.

A billion-dollar deal for the Morrison government to buy more than 50 million doses of the University of Queensland’s potential coronavirus vaccine has been abruptly terminated after several trial participants returned false positive HIV test results.

UQ, working in partnership with Australian global biotech company CSL, will abandon its current clinical trials following the discovery. It informed the federal government of the initial data on Monday, which was then referred to health authorities for urgent medical advice.

Sources with knowledge of the current trials said pathology tests had in the past weeks confirmed the positives were in fact false and the health of the participants has not been put at risk.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the national security committee of cabinet agreed to terminate the purchasing agreement on Thursday, following expert health advice and fears the revelation would severely damage the Australian public’s confidence in the COVID-19 vaccination program, which is expected to begin early next year.

“We have prepared for this. We have planned for this. And now we’re making decisions in accordance with this,” he said on Friday morning.

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