Scientist Xinhua Yan works in the lab at Moderna in Cambridge, Mass. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Moderna's experimental COVID-19 vaccine has induced a "robust" immune response and protection from the virus in the noses and lungs of monkeys, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine Tuesday.

Why it matters: The National Institutes for Health, which co-developed the vaccine, noted in a statement Tuesday, "This is the first time an experimental COVID-19 vaccine tested in nonhuman primates has been shown to produce such rapid viral control in the upper airway."

  • Moderna president Stephen Hoge said in a statement the preclinical study shows that the vaccine candidate, code-named mRNA-1273, protected against a high dose SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in non-human primates.
  • It also "prevented pulmonary disease in all animals, further supporting the clinical advancement of mRNA-1273," Hoge added.

What they did: For the study, three groups of eight rhesus macaques received two injections of 10 or 100 micrograms of mRNA-1273 or a placebo.

  • Both doses were found to be effective in safeguarding against viral replication in the monkeys' lungs and lung inflammation. The higher dose produced the same results in the monkeys' noses.

The bottom line: While these results are promising, the real test will be the outcome of human trials, now in the late stages, which involve some 30,000 volunteers.

  • NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Monday, "The safety data thus far looks good. But now, it's crunch time. We're trying to figure out if it actually works."

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Ex-FDA chief: Pence campaigning after COVID exposure puts others at risk — Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"— COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear themU.S. reports over 80,000 new cases for second consecutive day.
  3. World: Italy tightens restrictions Spain declares new state of emergency.
Oct 24, 2020 - World

Poland's president tests positive for coronavirus

Duda. Photo: Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Polish President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesperson announced on Saturday.

The big picture: Duda is reportedly feeling well and in isolation. His positive test comes amid a massive uptick in COVID-19 throughout the country and elsewhere across Europe.

  • Poland had previously warded off the virus with relative success, but is now facing a massive influx of cases that threatens to overwhelm its medical system.
  • The nation on Saturday tracked "13,628 new cases and 179 new deaths — a record number of deaths in one day since the start of pandemic," AP reports.

Amy Coney Barrett's immediate impact

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

In her first week on the job, Amy Coney Barrett may be deciding which votes to count in the presidential election. By her third week, she’ll be deciding the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

Where it stands: The Senate votes on Barrett’s nomination tomorrow. If she’s confirmed, Chief Justice John Roberts is expected to swear her in at the Supreme Court within hours, an administration official tells Axios.