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Abbott (ABT) Rides on Point-of-Care Coronavirus Test Launch

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Abbott Laboratories ABT announced the receipt of the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its molecular point-of-care test, ID NOW COVID-19, for the detection of the novel coronavirus. The company’s share price increased 6.4% to close at $79.34 on Mar 30 since the news came on Mar 27.

The COVID-19 test, which is the fastest available molecular point-of-care test available to date, runs on Abbott’s ID NOW platform and provides faster results. Notably, this is the second rapid molecular point-of-care COVID-19 test receiving the EUA as of Mar 23. Danaher (DHR) received the EUA for another such test to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus in 45 minutes.

Notably, the newly-launched test by Abbott can be used in a variety of healthcare settings like physicians' offices, urgent care clinics and hospital emergency departments. The test will provide positive results within five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes.

 


 

Post the launch of the ID NOW COVID-19 test, Abbott is on track to make it available by the next week to healthcare providers in urgent care settings in the United States. Notably, the test will be made available where the majority of ID NOW instruments are currently in use. The company also plans to ramp up its manufacturing to deliver 50,000 tests per day.

With the latest launch, Abbott aims to strengthen its Diagnostic Product business globally.

A Peek Into the Platform

The ID NOW Molecular Platform was launched in 2014 and has been the preferred choice of molecular point-of-care platform for Influenza A & B, Strep A, and RSV testing in the United States. Due to its design and portability, the platform is widely preferred by clinicians as well as the scientific fraternity. The platform also provides a high degree of accuracy.

 



 

Significance of the Launch

The portable ID NOW COVID-19 test can provide results within a few minutes. Given the platform’s design, molecular point-of-care testing can be carried out at outbreak hotspots. These make it a very significant instrument to combat the outbreak.

The ID NOW COVID-19 EUA has not yet been approved by the FDA. It has only received a EUA for the detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2 and not for any other viruses or pathogens.  The authorization is only valid for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist, which justifies the EUA in vitro diagnostic tests for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19.

Industry Prospects

Per a report by Grand View Research, the global molecular diagnostics market size was valued at $9.2 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $18.2 billion by 2027, witnessing a CAGR of 9%. Factors like the progress made in molecular diagnostics and the growing prevalence of infectious diseases are likely to drive the market.

Other Coronavirus-Related Progress by Abbott

The company received a EUA in March for its RealTime SARS-CoV-2 test used on the m2000 RealTime System. Currently, Abbott is on track to ship 150,000 tests to existing customers in the United States. Notably, the company is scaling up its production at its U.S. manufacturing location to reach the capacity of 1 million tests per week by the end of March.

Abbott believes that the two EUA tests combined, it can produce 5 million tests per month.

Price Performance

Shares of the company have lost 0.4% in the past year compared with the industry’s 14% decline.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Currently, Abbott carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks from the broader medical space are ResMed Inc. RMD, QIAGEN N.V. QGEN and Phibro Animal Health Corporation PAHC.

ResMed has a projected long-term earnings growth rate of 14.4%. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

QIAGEN’s long-term earnings growth rate is estimated at 10%. The company presently has a Zacks Rank #2.

Phibro’s long-term earnings growth rate is estimated at 2.1%. It currently sports a Zacks Rank #1.

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