Healthcare Business

The Case for 2 Coronavirus Test Companies

The markets seemingly haven’t found a direction yet after the massive drop last week from coronavirus concerns. The Dow Jones industrials, Nasdaq and S&P 500 have been averaging at least a 2% swing daily, so investors have been looking for some stability amid all this volatility. Coronavirus stocks, which we have mentioned before, offer some stability and even gains as a way to play COVID-19 fears.

More and more companies are joining the fight against the coronavirus. Quest Diagnostics Inc. (NYSE: DGX) is one of the newest to make this list. Quest has announced that it will launch a coronavirus test service, which could prove lucrative. Co-Diagnostics Inc. (NASDAQ: CODX) is another firm involved in testing for the coronavirus, which has been reporting additional demand for its tests.

For Quest, the new test service aids the presumptive detection of nucleic acid in respiratory specimens of patients meeting CDC’s clinical criteria for COVID-19 testing. Quest will be in position to receive specimens for testing, and begin to provide testing on Monday, March 9, 2020. With the new service, Quest Diagnostics will provide access to a COVID-19 test service for patients in the United States.

The new test service will be provided as a laboratory developed test, pending review by the FDA under emergency use authorization (EUA), which the company will submit per FDA guidance within 15 days of clinical testing. The test is a molecular-based assay that detects viral RNA in respiratory specimens.

The new service is expected to employ respiratory specimens collected in appropriate health care settings, such as hospitals and physician offices. Quest Diagnostics patient service centers and phlebotomy sites do not collect respiratory specimens on suspected COVID-19 cases. Patients suspected of, or confirmed to have, COVID-19 should consult with a physician regarding the best way to provide a specimen for testing by Quest.

Co-Diagnostics said in a separate release Thursday that both domestic and international demand has surged for its novel coronavirus detection kits in recent weeks, leading to increased product shipments, following the FDA’s change in policy on February 29, and an ever-larger number of patients testing positive for the disease worldwide.

Dwight Egan, Co-Diagnostics CEO, commented:

We are already manufacturing and shipping coronavirus products to countries on 4 continents along with additional demand we are experiencing pursuant to the policy change. Recent customer purchases have also included diagnostic equipment to facilitate the availability of molecular diagnostics world-wide, specifically in connection to this global health crisis.

Quest Diagnostics stock traded up nearly 2% at $117.32 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $82.59 to $118.58. The consensus price target is $111.73.

Co-Diagnostics stock was up 19% at $14.29. It has a 52-week range of $0.69 to $21.75 and a consensus analyst target of $11.00.