The University of Queensland is continuing to re-engineer its COVID-19 vaccine. 

The UQ molecular clamp vaccine stumbled in its test phase after it was found to induce false-positive HIV results.

This was because the early version of the jab used two fragments of a protein found in HIV to hold together the key part of the SARS-Cov-2 virus, allowing the immune system to learn to recognise it.

The UQ team has since trialled 20 different alternatives to the HIV protein.

“We haven't modified the clamp that we had. We've substituted in a completely new one that won't induce the diagnostic interference,” said project co-lead and professor of virology Paul Young.

“Two [proteins] have emerged as promising candidates and we're taking them forward.

“They're simply other proteins that have a very similar structural motif that are designed and do essentially the same job.”

The experts say UQ's clamp technology should be included in future vaccine agreements to diversify Australia's vaccine portfolio. 

More details are available here.