Scott Morrison says Australia won’t rush Pfizer vaccine approval

Australia ends local COVID vaccine trials due to HIV false positives

"I do want to thank, though, Professor Paul Young and all the team up there at the University of Queensland for the incredible work that they have done in getting the vaccine to that stage", Morrison said.

Antibodies generated by the vaccine being developed by the University of Queensland (UQ) and biotech firm CSL, one of four candidates contracted by the Australian government, were found to lead to some false positive HIV test results, the makers said.

How could a coronavirus vaccine interfere with HIV test results?

University of Queensland (UQ) virologist Dr Kirsty Short said the setback should not be surprising.

"Let's say there's a MERS outbreak and we rapidly need a vaccine", she said.

"The fact the problem has arisen is not surprising".

Although there's more work to be done to understand how to dampen the immune responses to gp41, Professor Drummer said the UQ's vaccine still had utility and "a lot of promise".

The University of Queensland vaccine was one of several under development that contain a coronavirus protein that prompts a response from the immune system. Australia has yet to grant approval to a coronavirus vaccine candidate.

"This is not the last pandemic that we will experience, so we still need technology classes to be developed".

He said the "stigma" surrounding HIV could have impacted the public's perception of the virus and affected uptake.

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With Australia recording only a small number of infections daily, the government said it could afford to take a relatively cautious approach to vaccines in comparison to countries with large outbreaks.

He said this was the "right call".

The government announced on Friday that it canceled an order of over 50 million of these vaccines and would be replacing them with vaccines developed by other drugmakers instead.

The US and the United Kingdom are some western countries that have approved the use of Pfizer vaccines for the general public.

Morrison said that Australia had backed four vaccines that showed promise but "at no stage. believed that all four of those vaccines would likely get through that process". One of them being Moderna. Clinical trials are also being carried out in countries including the U.S., Japan, Russia, and South Africa.

JPMorgan analysts said the cancellation of the CSL contract removed an "important" opportunity for the vaccine maker that would have brought it A$100 million ($75 million) in extra revenues.

"It's just such a awful shame that it's ending this way, but I would do it again in a heartbeat", she said.

Ms Stott said she was disappointed but not surprised by the decision to halt the vaccine development. What's more, officials anxious that false positives might undermine the public's faith in the vaccine. "So that's why this has stopped", Clinical epidemiologist at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Nancy Baxter told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The decision was taken after the makers consulted experts who worked out the "implications" that this issue presents to rolling out the vaccine into broad populations, it said.

As well as the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, existing arrangements are in place to supply Australians with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Novavax vaccines, should they prove safe and effective.



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