UQ coronavirus vaccine trial abandoned over false-positive HIV results

The Queensland coronavirus vaccine trials have had to be abandoned, after a number of participants reportedly returned false positive HIV tests.

It’s understood the federal government made the decision to call off the deal to buy 50 million doses of the vaccine from the University of Queensland’s Covid vaccine.

CSL and UQ have now announced that they will terminate their trials in a statement to the ASX this morning.


“The Phase 1 data showed the generation of antibodies directed towards the “molecular clamp” component of the vaccine. These antibodies interfere with certain HIV diagnostic assays.

“The potential for this cross-reaction had been anticipated prior to the commencement of the trial. Participants were fully informed prior to their involvement that this could occur.

“Blood samples from study participants were tested after vaccination and it was found that these molecular clamp antibodies did cause a false positive on a range of HIV assays.

“Follow up tests confirmed that there is no HIV virus present, just a false positive on certain HIV tests. There is no possibility the vaccine causes infection.

“With advice from experts, CSL and UQ have worked through the implications that this issue presents to rolling out the vaccine into broad populations.

“It is generally agreed that significant changes would need to be made to well-established HIS testing procedures in the healthcare setting to accommodate rollout of this vaccine.

“Therefore, CSL and the Australian Government have agreed vaccine development will not proceed to Phase 2/3 trials,” the statement reads.

The health all the participants is not believed to be at risk.

The federal government had made a deal with UQ to purchase 50 million doses of the vaccine, should it have been successful.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says they’re now putting their hopes and money elsewhere.

“We’re increasing our productions and purchase of Astrazenica vaccines from 33.8 million to 53.8 million, and we’re increasing our access to the Nova vaccine from 40 million to 51 million, so that’s an extra 20 million doses of Astrazenica, and an extra 11 million doses of Nova vaccine,” the Prime Minister announced this morning.

He also said that the federal government had planned for some vaccine options to be unsuccessful, investing in four different options to secure Australia’s access.

“At no stage, we believed that all four of those vaccines would likely get through that process.

“The advice that we have received is that the University of Queensland vaccine will not be able to proceed due to the scientific advice,” the Prime Minister said.