Bombshell finding from Aussie-made jab

Bombshell results from a clinical trial show an Australian-made COVID-19 vaccine could have been one of the best in the world.

One of the best COVID-19 vaccines in the world was being produced on Australian soil, a new clinical trial has found.

Results suggest the scrapped University of Queensland coronavirus vaccine would have matched it with the world’s best jabs after generating an immune response in 99 per cent of patients.

Findings from phase one of the clinical trials study have been published on the university website and were reported in British medical journal The Lancet.

It highlights how close Australia was to inventing and manufacturing its own homegrown vaccine, which was scrapped towards the end of last year due to a glitch with the vaccine formula.

According to the trial, 67 of the 68 people who received two doses of the jab produced a “neutralising immune response” to the virus.

Project co-leader, associate professor Keith Chappell, said in 75 per cent of vaccine recipients the jab produced an “above average” neutralising immune response in recovered patients.

“Adverse events were comparable to those in the saline placebo, with the only exceptions being mild injection site pain and tenderness,” he said.

But the clinical trial did not progress to phase two or three.

The federal government had ordered 51 million doses of the Australian-made jab before the program was abandoned in December.

Health authorities explained a sliver of HIV protein used to anchor the “molecular clamp” technology produced false positive readings to the AIDS virus.

At the time health department secretary Brendan Murphy said “no warnings were ignored” about the possibility of false positives in the trial.

“The possibility of false positives was raised by the University of Queensland very early on and was seen as a very, very unlikely possibility because the fragment of the HIV virus molecule was small,” Dr Murphy said.

“It was unfortunately an unexpectedly high rate when the data came in.

“The risks were appropriately taken, and unfortunately it just became a bigger problem than anyone had anticipated.”

He said he didn’t want health officials or Australians to have any issues with confidence, and this false-positive test could have caused confusion and lack of faith.

UQ’s project co-leader, professor Paul Young, agreed the vaccine candidate was not an option for Australia’s current rollout.

“The team understood the decision in December to shift the focus to other candidates that were showing promise,” he said.

“Some of these vaccines are now in market and need to remain the immediate priority.”

But when the federal government first made the announcement it was abandoning the UQ vaccine, Professor Young said the team of scientists were “devastated”.

“The last 11 months we’ve been living and breathing this particular project. It’s challenging times,” he said in December.

“But that’s science.”

In comparison, scientists behind the Pfizer vaccine say it is at least 97 per cent effective in preventing symptomatic disease, severe or critical disease and even death.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 79 per cent efficient in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 and 100 per cent efficient in preventing severe disease and hospitalisation.

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