Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Trial results show abandoned University of Queensland COVID-19 vaccine would have been ‘among best in world’

Clinical trial results show the aborted University of Queensland COVID-19 vaccine would have been among the best in the world, generating an immune response in 99 per cent of patients it was tested on.

The findings of the phase one safety study, reported today in British medical journal The Lancet, underline the opportunity lost when the development program was abandoned four months ago due to a glitch with the vaccine formula.

Sixty seven of the 68 people who received two doses of the promising immuniser produced a “neutralising immune response” to the virus, the study found.

“It means the vaccine basically worked in everybody … to induce the type of immune response we were looking for,” says one of the lead scientists in the UQ team, Trent Munro. “So that is not only just to make antibodies, but to make antibodies that are effective in killing the virus.”

While the phase one human trial was designed to prove only that the vaccine was safe to give to people, Professor Munro said the result was “fantastic, as good as we could have expected”.

The federal government had ordered 51 million doses of the Australian-made jab before the program was abandoned last December after a sliver of HIV protein used to anchor the “molecular clamp” technology was found to produce false-positive readings to the AIDS virus.

This was purely a matter of “diagnostic interference”, Professor Munro said. There was no possibility of infection or health implications from the false-positive, confirmed by the phase one trial.

“Of course we are disappointed this didn’t go further but … we understand the rationale for that and the complexity around creating diagnostic interference for a disease like HIV-AIDS,” he told The Australian.

“Plus we are seeing all the issues with vaccine hesitancy at the moment, and we wouldn’t have wanted to contribute to that in any way, shape or form.”

The Lancet paper, collectively authored by 28 of the Australian scientists, including Professor Munro, involved in the effort to develop the vaccine and get it to the point of being manufactured by CSL, shows how near it was to becoming a reality. The program collapsed on the cusp of the human testing that began with the phase one study of a pool of 314 volunteers in Brisbane graduating to a phase two-three trial of tens of thousands worldwide.

Participants aged 18-55 were given either a placebo or active doses ranging between five micrograms and 45 micrograms. Those in the treatment group generally tolerated the clamp vaccine well, with the most common side effect being pain or tenderness around the injection site. There were no reports after the first dose but one volunteer reported “moderate fever” following a second shot of the five microgram formulation.

“At day 57, 67 (99 per cent) of 68 participants who received two doses of sclamp vaccine at any concentration produced a neutralising immune response, compared with six (25 per cent) of 24 who received a single 45 microgram dose and none of 22 who received placebo,” the scientists reported.

Asked how the UQ vaccine might have compared to the Pfizer and AstraZeneca versions being rolled out in Australia, Professor Munro said: “The reality is we can’t say because we didn’t get our phase two-three data … but in terms of the immune profile this looks like it could have been an effective vaccine. As much as I would like to say what might have been, we just don’t have that (information).”


Apple will let Parler back on the App Store

Apple has approved Parler's return to the iOS app store following improvements the social media company made to better detect and moderate hate speech and incitement, according to a letter the iPhone maker sent to Congress on Monday.

The decision clears the way for Parler, an app popular with conservatives including some members of the far right, to be downloaded once again on Apple devices.

The letter — addressed to Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Ken Buck and obtained by CNN — explained that since the app was removed from Apple's platform in January for violations of its policies, Parler "has proposed updates to its app and the app's content moderation practices."

On April 14, Apple's app review team told Parler that its proposed changes were sufficient, the letter continued. Now, all Parler needs to do is to flip the switch.

"Apple anticipates that the updated Parler app will become available immediately upon Parler releasing it," Apple's letter said.

Apple declined to comment. Parler didn't immediately respond to request for comment.

Parler, an alternative to Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) that bills itself as a haven for free speech, was removed from major tech platforms in early January following the US Capitol riots of Jan. 6.

Parler was kicked off of Apple and Google's app stores, as well as Amazon Web Services, which had been hosting the company's product.

All three tech giants cited the presence of violent speech on Parler as a reason for removal; Parler later said that other vendors also cut ties with the company, effectively shutting the service down and making it inaccessible on the web. For several weeks, visitors to Parler's website were greeted by a static page instead of a functioning social networking app.

The app came back online on Feb. 15, but not before Parler's CEO was terminated by its board. It took another two months for Apple to give its approval restoring Parler to its app store.

In the meantime, Parler is waging a legal battle against Amazon (AMZN), alleging in part that Big Tech companies colluded to restrict Parler's access to the market. In court filings and elsewhere, Parler has said that it had been developing an artificial intelligence-based content moderation system when the larger platforms' crackdown took place.

The tech companies have rejected Parler's accusations of anti-competitive behavior. In Monday's letter, Apple said its decision to remove Parler from its app store was "an independent decision" and that Apple "did not coordinate or otherwise consult with Google or Amazon with respect to that decision."


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE-TIED)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS

http://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


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