The federal government has reportedly canned a deal to buy tens of millions of doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed in Australia.
The decision was made after the University of Queensland and biotechnology company CSL abandoned trials of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The trials were abandoned after some participants returned false positive results for another illness – HIV – Nine newspapers reported on Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Health Minister Greg Hunt will hold a press conference at 8am, followed by an update from UQ and CSL on their v451 vaccine at 9am.
“The government was very deliberate in not just backing one vaccine, because as we know, there are many cases where there is a problem through the trial process or there is some other issue,” Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told Nine’s Today show.
“We … made a prudent decision to back a number of vaccines and the PM will make further comments about that this morning.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who joined other state and territory leaders in Canberra on Friday for a meeting of the national cabinet, said the UQ/CSL outcome was disappointing.
“Of course, there is going to be some winners and losers,” she told Nine.
“It is very, very disappointing about the UQ vaccine but there are a lot of other candidates out there.”
Nine says the government was told on Monday that UQ and CSL had abandoned trials and cabinet on Thursday agreed to end an agreement to buy 50 million doses of the potential vaccine.
The government has previously said it wants to start rolling out a vaccine to the Australian community early in the new year.
It has other vaccine options beyond the UQ/CSL project, including a vaccine being developed in the UK by Oxford University and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.
According to Nine, the UQ/CSL vaccine candidate returned false positive test results for human immunodeficiency virus in some patients during trials conducted in a pool of more than 200 volunteers.