Australia halts trials after vax interferes with HIV analysis


Sydney, December 11

Australia cancelled the production of a locally made vaccine against Covid after trials showed it could interfere with HIV diagnosis, with the government instead securing additional doses of rival vaccines.

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.

While the vaccine had elicited a “robust” immune response to the novel SARS-COV-2 virus without serious adverse effects in a Phase 1 trial with 216 participants, re-engineering a fix could take another 12 months, they said. CSL, which had a contract to produce 51 million doses of the UQ vaccine, will instead produce an extra 20 million doses of the Oxford vaccine being developed with Britain’s AstraZeneca , taking the total to 53 million.

The government said it has also secured additional doses of Novavax vaccines.

Meanwhile, GlaxoSmithKline said clinical trials of its vaccine has showed an insufficient immune response in older people, delaying its launch to late next year and marking a setback in the global fight against the pandemic.

In Germany, calls have grown for tougher curbs as it saw record daily cases (29,875) and deaths (598).”The only chance we have to get in control of the situation is a lockdown, but it needs to be immediate,” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said. — Agencies

US advisory panel for emergency use of Pfizer’s drug

Washington: A special advisory committee, constituted by the United States government, has recommended emergency use authorisation for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, in a major step towards its widespread use in the country, worst-hit by the pandemic. After an eight-hour public hearing on Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted 17 to 4 with 1 abstention to recommend the vaccine. PTI



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