Diagnostics groups square up to Omicron

One group of medtechs were largely resistant to Friday’s bloodbath on the markets: Covid-19 test developers. Several have been quick to clarify that their tests can accurately detect the new Omicron variant despite its many mutations, with Qiagen stating that all of its PCR tests for the virus had been assessed successfully against the variant using public genetic databases. Thermo Fisher went further, pointing out that its TaqPath PCR assays could distinguish Omicron infections from those caused by Delta, thanks to the so-called “S gene drop out”. The Alpha and Omicron variants have this genetic quirk, but Delta does not, and since Delta is now so prevalent any drop out samples seen recently are likely from patients with Omicron. Currently this has to be confirmed with full sequencing of the viral genome, but Thermo Fisher is also working on specific genotyping assays for Omicron. And on Friday, Eurofins launched a new test that can differentiate Omicron from Delta. Called GSD NovaType Select P681H, this assay can be used as a large-scale screening test for PCR-positive samples. Eurofins also sells tests that can distinguish Omicron from other variants of concern, and its US listing closed up 13% on Friday.

Diagnostics companies vs the markets
Company Selected molecular Covid-19 tests SP move on Friday
Eurofins Scientific GSD NovaType Select P681H* 12.7%
Oxford Nanopore Technologies LamPore Covid-19 4.8%
Quest Diagnostics Sars-Cov-2 rRT-PCR 3.6%
Qiagen QIAstat-Dx Respiratory Sars-Cov-2 Panel; NeuMoDx Flu A-B/RSV/Sars-Cov-2 VantageAssay 3.4%
Siemens Healthineers Fast Track Diagnostics Sars-Cov-2 Assay 1.9%
Illumina CovidSeq Test 1.2%
Thermo Fisher TaqPath Combo*; TaqPath CE-IVD RT-PCR* 0.9%
Abbott Abbott RealTime Sars-Cov-2 assay 0.6%
Becton Dickinson BD Sars-Cov-2 Reagents for BD Max  0.3%
Roche Cobas Sars-Cov-2; Cobas Sars-Cov-2 & Influenza A/B 0.2%
*Can distinguish Omicron from Delta. Note: the S&P 1500 HealthCare Equipment & Supplies index was down 2% on Friday.

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