Gilead Opens Treatment to Generics; China Cases: Virus Update

China reported seven new coronavirus cases and authorities have halted train services in the northeastern city of Jilin. Gilead Sciences Inc. is licensing its potential treatment, remdesivir, to five generic drugmakers, including Mylan, in India and Pakistan to speed supply-chain development and help meet anticipated demand.

Brazil recorded another record day in deaths. Over 1,000 Twitter accounts linked to an alleged Chinese government-backed propaganda campaign are sowing disinformation about the virus. Australia’s governmentdownplayed a spat with China.

Key Developments:

  • Virus Tracker: Cases top 4.2 million; deaths exceed 291,000
  • Infections near U.S. meat plants rise at twice the national rate
  • China will exempt some foreign executives from travel ban

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Australia Downplays Trade Row With China (9:10 a.m. HK)

Australia’s Finance Minister Mathias Cormanndownplayed a trade spat with China that’s impacting key agricultural exports. In an interview with Bloomberg Television Wednesday, Cormann acknowledged “disagreements” between the government and Beijing over Australia’s call for an independent inquiry into the source of the Covid-19 outbreak.

China Reports 7 New Cases in Jilin, Shanghai (8:29 a.m. HK)

China said among thenew coronavirus cases reported May 12, one is a person in Shanghai who arrived from abroad and six are local infections in northeastern province of Jilin, according to the National Health Commission. Jilin’s railway station has halted train services, according to a report by China Central Televsion.

Canada’s NRC to Work With China’s CanSino on Vaccine (8:17 a.m. HK)

The National Research Council of Canadaagreed to work with CanSino Biologics to advance bioprocessing and clinical development of a potential vaccine against coronavirus, the NRC said in a statement on May 12. The Ad5-nCoV vaccine candidate received Chinese regulatory approval earlier this year, allowing CanSino to move ahead with human clinical trials in China.

Social Stigma, Harassment Undermine Testing in Asia (8:00 a.m. HK)

For many people in Asia, coming forward to get tested — let alone revealing the personal information of friends, family and close associates — is more terrifying than getting Covid-19.

Nasdaq Staff Return to Be Voluntary (6:30 a.m. NY)

Nasdaq Inc. staff’s return to the office will probably be voluntary for the foreseeable future, Chief Executive Officer Adena Friedman said. The exchange operator surveyed employees about how comfortable they’d be with coming back, under certain conditions, and the vast majority said they’d prefer to keep working from home and wait to see how the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic progresses.

“We have the luxury of patience — we have the ability to work from home very effectively,” Friedman said in a Bloomberg Television interview with David Rubenstein, co-founder of Carlyle Group Inc. “We will ask people if they want to come back voluntarily, and if they feel they can do it in a safe way, then we would like to start to reopen offices to give them that flexibility. But we then will put a whole lot of protocols in place inside the offices to make sure they stay safe.”

Brazil Reports New Record Day of Deaths (6:15 a.m. HK)

Brazil reported a new record for coronavirus deaths as Latin America’s largest economy becomes the new global hotspot for the coronavirus pandemic.

The country reported 881 deaths on Tuesday, pushing the total to 12,400. Last week, the country surpassed the U.K.’s daily death toll, trailing only the U.S. in terms of recorded daily deaths. The number of infections has more than doubled in the past two weeks to 177,589 — numbers health officials say likely don’t fully reflect the situation amid a widespread lack of testing in the nation home to 210 million people.

L.A. County Seen Extending Orders Until July (5:30 p.m. NY)

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told county supervisors at their meeting Tuesday that the area’s stay-at-home order “with all certainty” would last until July.

Los Angeles had only recently begun loosening up. The nation’s second-biggest city last weekend let residents hike on trails and play golf. Toy stores, flower shops and other retailers were allowed to reopen for curbside pickup. Beaches in the city were scheduled to reopen Wednesday.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that he would loosen statewide orders further, including allowing some malls and offices to open with limitations. Still, counties have the discretion to enact tighter rules. Beyond Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay area has extended stay-at-home measures until the end of May.

Gilead Licenses Remdesivir to Generic Drugmakers (5:20 p.m. NY)

Gilead Sciences Inc. is licensing its potential Covid-19 treatment, remdesivir, to five generic drug manufacturers in India and Pakistan to speed supply chain development and help meet anticipated demand.

The companies are Cipla Ltd., Ferozsons Laboratories, Hetero Labs Ltd., Jubilant Lifesciences, and Mylan. They will be able to produce the drug without paying Gilead royalties until the World Health Organization declares the end of the pandemic or until another drug or vaccine is approved to treat or prevent Covid-19, whichever comes first.

Fauci Can Attend White House Meetings, HHS Says (4:40 p.m. NY)

Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease official in the U.S., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn will rejoin White House meetings under certain conditions after all three said Sunday that they were quarantining themselves after being exposed to a staff member who tested positive.

They’ll attend White House meetings providing they are asymptomatic, screened, monitored for fever and other symptoms, wear face coverings and maintain social distancing, according to a joint statement from the CDC and Department of Homeland Security.

U.S. Cases Rise 1.4%, Below Week Average (4 p.m. NY)

U.S. cases rose 1.4% from the day before to 1.36 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That was higher than Monday’s growth rate of 1.3% but below the average daily increase of 1.9% over the past week. Deaths rose 2.3% to 81,805.

  • Cases in New York rose 0.4% to 338,485 while deaths increased to 27,215, according to data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.
  • Florida reported 41,923 cases on Tuesday, up 2.3% from a day earlier, according to the state’s health department. Deaths reached 1,779, an increase of 2.5%.
  • Cases in California rose 2.1% to 69,382 while deaths increased 2.8% to 2,847, according to the state’s website.
  • Illinois cases rose by 4,014 to 83,021 while deaths increased by 144 to 3,601, according to the state’s health department.

Cuomo: N.Y. Needs $61 Billion From Feds (2:04 p.m. NY)

Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York needs $61 billion in federal support to replenish the state budget, which has been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. If the state doesn’t get cash assistance from Congress, it will be forced to cut spending, he said.

Cuomo, a Democrat, joined Republican Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland in calling for federal funding to show that the need for financial assistance has bipartisan support.

“When you don’t fund a state, who does the state fund?” Cuomo said at his daily briefing. “The state funds schools, local governments and hospitals.”

— With assistance by Enda Curran

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