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World-leading Oxford coronavirus vaccine produces immune response

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 3 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 3 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.

How Amy Coney Barrett will make an immediate impact on the Supreme Court

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.

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Biden team rebuffs Texas Democrats' pleas for more money

The Biden campaign is rebuffing persistent pleas from Texas Democrats to spend at least $10 million in the Lone Star state, several people familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: If Texas — which has 38 electoral votes and is steadily getting more blue, but hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976 — flipped to the Biden column, it would be game over. But the RealClearPolitics polling average stubbornly hovers at +2.6 for Trump — and Team Biden appears more focused on closer targets.

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Where Trump and his inner circle plan to spend election night

A luxe election-night watch party at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue is being planned for President Trump's donors, friends and advisers — but Trump's hand in it is minimal because he's "very superstitious" — people familiar with the plans tell Axios.

The big picture: This "mecca for all things MAGA," as one adviser described it, is one of three hubs where they say Trumpworld will watch returns. The others are the war room at campaign HQ in Rosslyn, Virginia, and the White House residence, where Trump and the first lady will gather close family and advisers before heading to the hotel later that night, the sources said.

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Trump plans to fire heads of FBI, CIA and Pentagon if he wins re-election

If President Trump wins re-election,he'll move to immediately fire FBI Director Christopher Wray and also expects to replace CIA Director Gina Haspel and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, two people who've discussed these officials' fates with the president tell Axios.

The big picture: The list of planned replacements is much longer, but these are Trump's priorities, starting with Wray.

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Senate advances Amy Coney Barrett nomination, setting up final confirmation vote

The Senate voted 51-48 on Sunday to advance the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, setting up a final confirmation vote for Monday.

Why it matters: It's now virtually inevitable that the Senate will vote to confirm President Trump's third Supreme Court nominee before the election, which is just nine days away.

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String of recent scandals show Wall Street is living up to its bad reputation

If you judge a bank by its scandals,recent headlines will have you convinced that Wall Street is hell-bent on living up to all of its stereotypes.

Driving the news: Goldman Sachs,of course, is the biggest and the boldest, paying a total of $6.45 billion in fines and guarantees in the wake of the 1MDB scandal.

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Former FDA commissioner: Pence campaigning after COVID exposure puts others at risk

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said "the short answer is yes" when asked whether Vice President Mike Pence is putting others at risk by continuing to campaign after several aides tested positive for COVID-19, stressing that the White House needs to be "very explicit about the risks that they're taking."

Why it matters: The New York Times reports that at least five members of Pence's inner circle, including his chief of staff Marc Short and outside adviser Marty Obst, have tested positive for the virus. Pence tested negative on Sunday morning, according to the VP's office, and will continue to travel for the final stretch of the 2020 campaign.

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AOC says it's "extremely important" that Biden offer Bernie Sanders a Cabinet position

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that she believes it's "extremely important" that Joe Biden offer Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive leaders Cabinet positions if he's elected president.

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez was pressed repeatedly on policy differences between her and the more moderate Biden, including her opposition to fracking and support for Medicare for All. She responded that it would be a "privilege" and a "luxury" to be able to lobby a Biden administration on progressive issues, insisting that the focus right now should be on winning the White House.

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