That's how Professor Paul Young, the co-lead of the University of Queensland's team developing a vaccine for the coronavirus, described the feeling among his staff on Friday morning upon the news the trial had been abandoned.
Following the phase-one clinical trials, the vaccine, which uses world-first molecular clamp technology, was ticking all the right boxes. It was safe and not producing negative reactions. It was producing the right antibodies to SARS-COV-2 that would protect a person from the virus.
But, in a blow that would prove to be fatal for the project, it was also causing trial participants to show "false positives" when tested for HIV.
So why abandon a vaccine that seems to do what the scientists, and people around the world, so desperately want it to do?
It's about confidence, both in the eventually successful COVID-19 vaccine and vaccines in general.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, countries like Australia were already dealing with anti-vaccination and conspiracy theory movements, and this was too important to be vulnerable to those forces already at work.
The laboratories at the University of Queensland must be sad places to be this week, knowing they got so close but also so far.
But in many ways, this shows the plan is working, and the system can be trusted.
The fact that a government, an ASX-listed company, and a university can agree to abandon a project that has already taken significant investment, time and effort shows no corner is being cut on the road to a vaccine.
As two nations Australia has long looked up to, the United States and the United Kingdom, move to emergency approvals for the Pfizer vaccine, we realise again how lucky we are.
"Overseas, vaccination is the only thing they've got, frankly, to address what is a level of communication of the virus that is happening in the community in those places," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday.
Meanwhile, Australia has almost eradicated the virus, and has the time and good fortune to rigorously test and study all possible vaccines before beginning a rollout we can all trust.
Our scientists must be devastated, but also confident in the sacrifice they have made for the greater project.