Australia Cancels Order for CSL Vaccine as Trial Stumbles

The Australian government canceled an order for 51 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by CSL Ltd. and the University of Queensland after clinical trials ran into difficulties.

The nation still has agreements to purchase three other vaccines undergoing trials, including shots from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, Novavax Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc, and has increased orders, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday.

CSL said in a statement Friday that following discussions with the government, it would not progress to phase 2/3 clinical trials of the V451 vaccine. It said a small component of the vaccine comes from the human immunodeficiency virus, and while that posed no risk of infection, some trial participants had false positive tests for HIV.

CSL Won’t Progress Covid Vaccine Candidate to Phase 2/3 Trials

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

Professor Paul Young from the University of Queensland said that although it was possible to re-engineer the vaccine, the team didn’t have the luxury of time. “Doing so would set back development by another 12 or so months, and while this is a tough decision to take, the urgent need for a vaccine has to be everyone’s priority.”

Morrison said the government had spread the risk by ordering four vaccines, and had never expected all of them to progress to the end of stage 3 trials. The government has ordered an additional 20 million doses of a vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca and an extra 11 million Novavax doses.

In total, more than 140 million units of vaccines will be available in Australia, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

“The advice I have is that this is one of the highest ratios of vaccine purchases and availability to population in the world,” Hunt said. “So we’re in a strong position.”

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