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Limited Contrast

A shortage of contrast dye is leading some hospitals to limit some imaging so there is enough on hand for emergency cases, the New York Times reports.

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that COVID-19-related lockdowns in China had affected a GE Healthcare plant in Shanghai that makes Omnipaque, a contrast agent. Contrast, it noted, makes blood vessels and organs more visible when imaged by CT scan, for instance. But as the plant was closed for weeks, the Journal noted that many hospitals in the US had gotten low on inventory. In mid-May, GE told the Journal that the plant had re-opened at half-capacity and had shifted production to other plants and now tells the Times the Shanghai plant is at 60 percent capacity.

The shortage, Matthew Davenport, from American College of Radiology and Michigan Medicine, tells the Times, is analogous to that of infant formula, as both products have a limited number of suppliers.

"We need to figure out how to really create a much more robust, not as lean, supply system that has some give to it," Nancy Foster from the trade group the American Hospital Association adds at the Times.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.