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Moderna's headquarters in Massachusetts. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Healthy patients who received the first doses of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine appeared to have generated antibody responses to the virus, according to early phase one trial data released by the company Monday.

The big picture: This is an early snapshot of a small sample size within a trial that is focused on the vaccine's safety. This is a positive first step, but still a first step.

Details: Eight healthy volunteers who received Moderna's vaccine developed antibodies that were similar to or exceeded the level of antibodies in patients who recovered from the disease caused by the virus, depending on the size of the dose.

  • Importantly, the vaccine appears to be "generally safe and well-tolerated" with no life-threatening side effects, the company said.

Yes, but: The data is limited, and there's no data yet on people older than 55 — a group that is at the highest risk of getting infected.

The stock market saw its biggest jump in weeks amid the news, with the S&P 500 rising 2.7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining more than 3% (or 700+ points), Axios' Courtenay Brown reports.

What to watch: A phase two trial has already been approved to start soon, and Moderna now expects the phase three trial for this vaccine, the most rigorously tested study, will begin by July.

  • The National Institutes of Health is leading this initial trial, and taxpayers have invested a half-billion dollars in the later-stage trials.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Aug 22, 2020 - Health

Better testing can fight more than the pandemic

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

New coronavirus diagnostics could eventually enable near-constant testing — and herald a future where even common infections no longer go undiagnosed.

Why it matters: Rapid testing could be especially important during the winter, when it will become vital to quickly distinguish between an ordinary cold or flu and a new disease like COVID-19.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Aug 26, 2020 - Health
What Matters 2020

Axios-Ipsos poll: The racial gap on coronavirus vaccine

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: 1,084 U.S. adults were surveyed between Aug. 21-24, 2020 with a ±3.3% margin of error; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Black Americans are less likely than white Americans to say they plan to get a flu vaccine this year, and significantly less likely to say they'll take a first-generation coronavirus vaccine, according to numbers from the latest edition of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: Black Americans have suffered disproportionately from COVID-19, which means they also stand to benefit from a successful vaccine. But a legacy of medical mistreatment, systematic racism in health care and targeted efforts by anti-vaxxers means that a wide trust gap needs to be closed first.

Navarro says need for randomized trial on plasma is a "crazy talking point"

White House economic adviser Peter Navarro said on Tuesday that recommendations from health experts that convalescent plasma undergo a randomized trial as a COVID-19 treatment before receiving an emergency authorization are a "crazy talking point."

Why it matters: Top federal health officials urged the FDA last week to hold off on issuing an emergency use authorization for the safe, but unproven treatment, but the agency went ahead with it on Sunday amid pressure from Navarro and Trump.