Yes, Australia abandoned COVID-19 vaccine after false positive HIV test results | Dailytrust

Yes, Australia abandoned COVID-19 vaccine after false positive HIV test results

“Australia abandoned vaccine attempt after the shot wrongly gave some people positive HIV test results,” read a screenshot of what seemed to be a social media post by the website Business Insider shared on Instagram in South Africa on January 6, 2021.

“Australia becomes the first country to abandon vaccine attempt,” it added. The screenshot showed a photo of Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.

But Facebook’s fact-checking system has flagged it as possibly false. Has Australia given up on the development of its COVID-19 vaccine after people are given the shot had false HIV-positive test results?

‘Participants’ health not at risk’

The headline is from a real Business Insider article published on December 11, 2020.

“Australia has become the first country in the world to scrap a coronavirus vaccine project after a shot developed as part of the $750 million scheme saw trial participants falsely test positive for HIV,” the article read.

It quoted Australian Health Minister, Greg Hunt, as saying the trial vaccine “triggered an antibody response that could interfere with HIV screening.”

The news was also reported by the BBC, which explained that vaccine trial participants’ health status had not changed; but that the vaccine just made it appear that they had tested positive for HIV.

The vaccine was developed by biotech company CSL and Australia’s University of Queensland (UQ). “CSL and UQ stressed that the positive results were false – meaning trial participants’ health was not at risk,” the BBC reported.

The Australian government has entered an agreement for the Novavax vaccine and “upped its existing order of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine,” the BBC said.

CSL and UQ said fixing the false positive issues would take about a year thereby “prompting a decision to abandon the trial.”

‘Vaccine development will not proceed’

In a statement, CSL said the trial participants were “fully informed of the possibility of a partial immune response to this component.

“But it was unexpected that the levels induced would interfere with certain HIV tests…There is no possibility the vaccine causes infection, and routine follow-up tests confirmed there is no HIV virus present.”

The company confirmed that, “CSL and the Australian government have agreed the vaccine development will not proceed to Phase 2/3 trials.”

A collaboration between Daily Trust and Africa Check to fight health misinformation

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