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GE unit boosts medical dye output as China COVID lockdown cuts supplies

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Completed GE digital anesthesia care stations are seen at a GE Healthcare manufacturing facility during the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S. April 21, 2020. REUTERS/Daniel Acker/File Photo

BEIJING/LONDON (Reuters) – General Electric (NYSE:GE)’s healthcare unit said on Tuesday it had increased output of dye used for medical scans and tests at its factory in Ireland and shipped products by air to help combat shortages caused by the suspension of its Shanghai factory.

The steps to boost and speed up deliveries of chemicals used in CT scans, x-rays and radiography highlight the far-reaching impact the city’s prolonged COVID-19 lockdown is having on global manufacturing and supply of critical goods.

The news comes after the Greater New York Hospital Assn (GNYHA) warned on May 4 of temporary supply shortages of GE Healthcare’s iodinated contrast media — specifically its Omnipaque products made in Shanghai.

“We are working around the clock to expand capacity of our iodinated contrast media products,” a spokesperson said after the company had to close its Shanghai facility for several weeks due to local COVID-19 policies.

It has now reopened, but the plant is not yet operating at full capacity.

“We are working to return to full capacity as soon as local authorities allow,” the spokesperson said.

In addition to increasing output at its Cork, Ireland facility to help resolve the U.S. shortages, it has also flown product from Cork and Shanghai to the United States, rather than ship by sea to accelerate delivery, the company said. It did not give details on the increase in capacity or what extra costs it had incurred due to the measures.

The New York hospital association said an 80% cut in supplies was expected to last for the next 6-8 weeks and advised healthcare providers to ration stocks.

Shanghai authorities have tightened a city-wide lockdown imposed more than a month ago on the commercial hub with a population of 25 million, a move that could extend curbs on movement through the month.

GE Healthcare has four contrast media manufacturing facilities, including the one in Shanghai.

A spokesperson for Bayer (OTC:BAYRY), which competes with GE Healthcare in contrast media, said it is not facing a similar situation, but it is taking “several measures to help manage the market situation with incremental volumes to support customers and minimise patient impact”, without elaborating further.

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U.S. CDC recommends re-isolation if COVID recurs after taking Pfizer’s pill

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pfizer’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pill Paxlovid is packaged in Ascoli, Italy, in this undated image obtained by Reuters on November 16, 2021. Pfizer/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) – Patients who experience recurrence of COVID-19 symptoms after completing treatment with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)’s drug Paxlovid should isolate again for five days, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an advisory issued on Tuesday.

Dozens of individuals have reported rebounding COVID symptoms on social media or to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after taking Paxlovid, but Pfizer suggests the experience is rare. A recent rise in COVID cases has driven up use of therapeutics in the country.

The CDC in its advisory that case reports suggest that recurrence results in mild symptoms, and there have been no reports of severe disease so far. The agency still continues to recommend the oral antiviral drug as a treatment, despite the possibility of recurrences.

A brief return of symptoms may be part of the natural history of SARS-CoV-2 infection in some persons, regardless of treatment with Paxlovid, the agency said.

CDC recommends that patients with COVID rebound can end their re-isolation period after five full days if there is no fever for 24 hours and symptoms improve, but such patients should wear a mask for a total of 10 days after rebound symptoms begin.

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European shares fall as business growth data deepens slowdown worries

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© Reuters. The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, May 23, 2022. REUTERS/Staff

By Susan Mathew

(Reuters) -European shares ended lower on Tuesday, tracking declines in global stock markets with business expansion data for May renewing investor concerns over slowing economic growth and monetary policy tightening.

The pan-European STOXX 60 index closed 1.1% down, giving back almost all of Monday’s gains.

PMI data showed euro zone business growth slowed this month and a shortage of raw materials held back expansion in manufacturing, adding to worries over global growth.

Europe’s largest economy, Germany, meanwhile, remains on the growth path helped by a sustained rebound in services, although demand outlook looks bleak amid inflation and supply issues. German shares gave up 1.8%.

“The clouds are packing above the eurozone economy,” said Bert Colijn, senior economist, Eurozone at ING. “And the question is really how long the service sector can continue to profit from consumers… when we also see that purchasing power is under extreme pressure due to high inflation.”

“Inflationary pressures are barely abating and… this is a warning that it is likely to remain quite hawkish for the European Central Bank,” he said, signalling a period of sustained pressure for stocks.

All major sectors posted broad declines, with luxury stocks and retailers in the lead, which take a hit when disposable income is squeezed.

The French index, packed with luxury stocks, slumped 1.7%, the top decliner among regional peers.

Tech stocks on Europe fell 2.7% along with Wall Street after Snapchat-owner Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP)’s profit warning hurt other major social media stocks. Frankfurt-listed shares of Snap plunged 44.6%.

“Snap seems to have taken the blame for the market’s inability to hold its limited gains, but in reality, investors are still taking every chance they can to cut back on stocks, particularly those previous market darlings in the tech sector,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG.

The STOXX 600 is now down more than 12% from this year’s highs hit in early January.

Worries about monetary policy tightening to control surging inflation, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and COVID-19 curbs in China restricting demand in the world’s second-largest economy have all weighed on markets.

Tele2 plunged 7.9% after investment company Kinnevik sold a 7.2% stake in the telecoms operator.

Barclays (LON:BARC) rose 3.2% on starting a suspended 1-billion-pound share buyback programme.

Shares of UK power generating companies Drax, Centrica (OTC:CPYYY) and SSE (LON:SSE) plunged between 7.5% and 14% after the Financial Times reported that the British government could extend the windfall tax to power generators.

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Nio to Invest $32.8M Building R&D Labs in Shanghai

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© Reuters Nio (NIO) to Invest $32.8M Building R&D Labs in Shanghai

By Michael Elkins

A recent report by CnEVPost shows that the electric vehicle company, Nio (NYSE:NIO) is planning to invest $32.8 million to build lithium-ion battery labs and a cell pilot production line in Shanghai.

Citing an environmental assessment report, CnEVPost says that the electric vehicle company will build 31 R&D labs engaged in lithium-ion cell and battery pack research and development as part of a new R&D project in Anting town, Jiading district. Along with the labs, Nio is planning to build a lithium-ion cell pilot line and a battery pack production line.

The report suggests that the “R&D labs will explore the charge and discharge performance, temperature performance, and safety performance of lithium-ion cells and packs under different physical experimental conditions such as temperature, tension, humidity.” While the production and battery pack line conducts trial production of lithium-ion cells and battery packs.

“NIO continues to grow in revenue but its expenses continue to pile on. The company’s expansion plans will likely also impact profitability in the future, ” suggests, Sandeep Rao, a Seeking Alpha analyst on the stock.

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