virus fears | 

Covid-19 rate drops in Dublin as other counties suffer a surge

Eilish O'Regan

Dublin is among the counties which are starting to win the battle against Covid-19.

New figures show that the 14-day incidence of the virus in Dublin now stands at 253.5 per 100,000, compared with 257.7 per 100,000 a week ago.

It appears the spread of the virus is coming under control, although it is proving uneven across the country.

Counties with a fall in cases include some of the worst hit including Cavan, Meath, Westmeath, Kildare, Limerick and Cork.

But other counties are suffering a rise in cases, including Wicklow, Laois, Louth, Donegal, Kilkenny and Tipperary.

Some counties, like Dublin, were already under Level 3 restrictions for several weeks before the recent severe Level 5 lockdown was imposed.

Meanwhile, another company announced it is on the verge of a Covid-19 vaccine breakthrough.

Moderna said it is on track to report early data from a late-stage trial of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine next month, offering the clearest timeline yet for when the world will know whether it is effective.

The company, one of the front-runners in the global race to produce vaccines to protect against Covid-19, said an independent data monitoring committee is expected to conduct an interim review of its ongoing 30,000-person trial in November.

The company said it is preparing to distribute the vaccine, known as mRNA-1273, and expects to be able to produce 20 million doses by the end of the year, and between 500 million and 1 billion doses in 2021. Moderna said infection rates in the trial were on track with expectations.

A regulatory green light for Moderna's vaccine would be a major endorsement of the biotech's vaccine platform, chief executive Stephane Bancel said during the company's quarterly results conference call.

The Moderna vaccine uses synthetic messenger RNA (mRNA) to mimic the surface of the coronavirus and teach the immune system to recognize and neutralise it.

The technology, which has yet to produce an approved vaccine, is also used in the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer.


Pfizer also hopes to get the go-ahead and that could mean the first consignment would be in Ireland by the end of the year.

Moderna said it expects two months of follow-up safety data, as required by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to be ready in the second half of November, after which it will file for an emergency use authorisation.

FDA guidelines call on vaccine developers to watch trial subjects for two months after they receive a final dose for any side effects that may crop up.

The Massachusetts-based company has signed supply deals with the US government and several other countries, and is also in talks with the World Health Organisation-led group, Covax, about distribution.

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