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UQ covid-19 vaccine development halted

Despite the recent withdrawal of the UQ vaccine from further development, we are very proud to have been able to support the team in their research by proving high-end cryo-TEM. Their dedication and hard work are still likely to pay off as they fine tune their molecular clamp system for use in the inevitable pandemics that will arrive in the future.

Despite eliciting a strong immune response and a robust safety profile, the vaccine produced false positive results for HIV/AID on an antibody test. This is due to the use of a protein from HIV in the molecular clamp technology.

While there is no possibility the vaccine causes HIV infection, significant changes would need to be made to well-established HIV 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.

Dr Andrew Nash, Chief Scientific Officer for CSL said this outcome highlights the risk of failure associated with early vaccine development, and the rigorous assessment involved in making decisions as to what discoveries advance.

The team continues to develop the molecular clamp technology along with other crucial research including new antiviral treatments to cut the global death rate from dengue, Zika and West Nile viruses, sub-unit and DNA based vaccines for dengue, a biotechnology platform for developing vaccines and diagnostic for mosquito-borne viruses, and the design and delivery antiviral treatment for RSV infections, the most common cause of respiratory and breathing infections in children.

Cryo-TEM reconstruction of the Sclamp vaccine candidate by Naphak Modhiran, Daniel Watterson and Lou Brillault