Roche CEO Says Testing Demand Could Outstrip Supply for Months

With pandemic cases still surging across the U.S., the outbreak is severely threatening testing supplies. In fact, according to Dr. Geoffrey Baird, who oversees CV-19 diagnostics at the University of Washington’s laboratory system, as quoted by NBC News, “It's unimaginably gigantic, the amount that we're doing, but it's still insufficient compared to the demand. Lowering demand is honestly the most effective way to address supply.” Worse, according to The American Clinical Laboratory Association, members are already facing delays or cancellations on orders for clinical supplies. In addition, demand for testing devices could outstrip supply for quite some time, says Roche CEO Severin Schwan. “We still have little information about duration and efficacy of vaccines. So diagnostics will remain very important, not only for the months to come but the years to come,” he said, as quoted by Reuters. Such demand is creating opportunity for companies such as Datametrex AI Limited (TSXV:DM)(OTC:DTMXF), Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (NYSE:LH), Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), Quest Diagnostics Inc. (NYSE:DGX), and Chembio Diagnostics Inc. (NASDAQ:CEMI).

Datametrex AI Limited (TSXV:DM)(OTC:DTMXF) BREAKING NEWS: Datametrex AI Limited  wishes to provide an update on film and television industry testing and lab facilities projects which it is undertaking in Canada. As of this coming January 2021, the Company has received order for an additional 3 film & TV productions in Toronto and an additional 6 l film & TV productions in Vancouver. The Company is currently providing services to 6 production companies in Toronto and 11 production companies in Vancouver, administering approximately 6,000 tests per week. The Company expects this will increase significantly with the additional projects which is seeing in its project pipeline.

Datametrex has ramped up testing lab facilities in Vancouver. The lab now has a capacity of processing up to 10,000 COVID-19 tests per week with the ability to expand this capacity even further (if required). Vancouver is the third-largest production centre in North America, worth CDN $3.2 billion during 2018/19, according to Creative BC. British Columbia is home to several world-class Film and TV studios, including Bridge Studios, Mammoth Studios, Vancouver Film Studios, North Shore Studios, Ironwood Studios, Canadian Motion Picture Park, and The Crossing Studios.

Entire film and TV production in Canada represent $8.92 billion in production volume, and full-time equivalent jobs represent 179,000 workers. In March 2020, the industry stopped worldwide and in Vancouver which represents 37% of Canadian productions, and the surrounding areas had 46 productions filming which does not include the TV commercial market. Each of the shows would have a minimum of a 100-person film crew.

The next largest film and television market is Ontario which represents 34% of Canadian productions and in 2019, Toronto’s film and television industry directly employed more than 28,000 people representing $3.17 billion in production volume.

“With Vancouver and Toronto feature-length movies and episodic series productions filming quickly ramping up, we feel that this will only expand the COVID-19 screening business for the film and TV industries," said Marshall Gunter CEO of the Company.

Other related developments from around the markets include:

Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (NYSE:LH), a leading global life sciences company that is focused on advancing health and guiding patient care decisions, announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pixel by LabCorp™ COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit to become the first to be available over the counter without requiring a prescription. The kit is currently available through the Pixel by LabCorp website and this approval will enable LabCorp to potentially distribute the kit through retail channels. This authorization is the latest example of LabCorp’s commitment to increase access to COVID-19 testing. The kit allows consumers to self-collect their sample in the privacy of their own home, which helps minimize transmission of the virus. Users then send the sample for processing at LabCorp.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for virtually guided at-home use of its BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card rapid test for detection of COVID-19 infection. Abbott is bringing BinaxNOW, the most affordable and widely distributed rapid test into the home, where the result is delivered in minutes without the need to send it out for processing. The $25 cost for the test and service is the lowest currently available for at-home testing.  To facilitate the delivery of the BinaxNOW test to the home and the guided collection and testing process, Abbott has partnered with digital health solutions provider eMed™. This agreement furthers Abbott's vision of making as many tests as possible available in a variety of different settings to improve accessibility, support consumer confidence in testing at home, and help people start returning to living their daily lives with more normalcy.

Quest Diagnostics Inc. (NYSE:DGX), the world's leading provider of diagnostic information services, raised its financial outlook for full year 2020. Since the company reported its financial performance for the third quarter of 2020 on October 22, COVID-19 molecular testing volumes have been significantly higher than the previous outlook contemplated. Organic testing volumes ordered in the company's base business (excluding COVID-19 molecular and antibody testing and the impact of acquisitions) remained relatively steady, down mid-to-high single digits versus the prior year in October and November, consistent with the company's previous outlook. In early December, organic testing volume trends declined, with volume down high single digits versus the prior year as a number of state and local governments have imposed new orders designed to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

Chembio Diagnostics Inc. (NASDAQ:CEMI), a leading point-of-care diagnostic company focused on infectious diseases, announced it has been awarded a contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. The contract will support the development and pursuit of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a rapid, multiplex DPP Respiratory Antigen Panel point-of-care test system using Chembio’s proprietary DPP technology for the upcoming flu season.

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