Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A coronavirus vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca, perhaps the most promising candidate currently in development, appears to be safe and produces an immune response, according to preliminary findings published in The Lancet.

Why it matters: The race is on to get a vaccine approved and into circulation. A separate report published today finds that a Chinese candidate also produces an immune response, while American biotech firm Moderna revealed last week that its candidate produces a strong immune response.

State of play: The Oxford vaccine is in phase three trials, the last step before possible approval. According to the Economist, it could be cleared for emergency use as early as October.

  • Moderna's vaccine is moving into phase three now, while another candidate from Pfizer is believed to be relatively close behind.
  • China has at least six candidates currently in trials, one of which is in phase three.
  • Russia says a candidate from its state-run Gamaleya Institute will enter phase three trials next month.
  • According to the Milken Institute's tracker, there are 197 candidate vaccines in development, 19 of which are in some stage of clinical trials.

What to watch: While it seems increasingly likely that a vaccine will be available by early next year — the timeline suggested by Anthony Fauci — it remains unclear who will get it first.

  • The U.K. announced today that it had bought up millions of doses not only of the Oxford vaccine, but of candidates from France and Germany.
  • That's another sign that this could play out as a bidding war, rather than the sort of equitable distribution European leaders have discussed.
  • President Trump, meanwhile, has at times described the vaccine race in America First terms. The U.S. is pouring billions of dollars into developing and manufacturing vaccines and expects to claim millions of doses if and when they are approved.

Go deeper

Updated 56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.
Oct 23, 2020 - Health

U.S. hits highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic began

Expand chart
COVID Tracking Project

The U.S. confirmed at least 83,010 coronavirus cases on Friday, the country's highest daily total since the pandemic started, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

By the numbers: Friday's total surpassed the U.S.'s previous record set on July 17 when 76,842 cases were recorded. 

Oct 23, 2020 - Health

Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting in “several months,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday.

Why it matters: At the beginning of the pandemic, the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met every day, but in the "last several weeks," members have held virtual meetings once a week, Fauci said, even as the number of new cases continues to surge in the country.