Abbot Labs Rolls Out Coronavirus Antibody Test, Seeks to Produce 20 Million Tests by June


Abbott Laboratories (ABT) said it is rolling out a laboratory-based blood test which can detect antibodies designed to identify whether someone has had the coronavirus strain Covid-19. The digital device maker is planning to ramp up manufacturing to produce 20 million tests by June.

Shares of the healthcare company, which is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings on Thursday, rose 2% to $90.94 a share, while the NYSE Composite Index dropped 2.9%. Analysts expect Abbott to earn an average 58 cents per share in the quarter.

The company announced that it expects to ship close to 1 million tests this week to hospitals and labs in the U.S, and will ship a total of 4 million tests in April. By June and beyond, Abbott will be shipping 20 million tests to the U.S. per month, according to the report.

The digital device maker’s third  Covid-19 test, or IgG antibody test, is different than diagnostic tests. While molecular testing detects whether someone has the virus, antibody tests determine if someone was previously infected.

The SARS-CoV-2 IgG test identifies the IgG antibody, which is a protein that the body produces in the late stages of infection and may remain for up to months and possibly years after a person has recovered, the company said. The antibody test will initially run on Abbot’s Architect i1000SR and i2000SR laboratory instruments used in U.S. hospitals and labs. These instruments can conduct up to 100-200 tests per hour.

In the fight against COVID-19, Abbott’s tests to identify the virus have helped healthcare providers make significant headway.  As a result, five-star analyst Matt Miksic at Credit Suisse kept a Buy call on the stock and raised the price target to $95 price target from $94.

Turning to other Wall Street analysts, the bulls have it. With 8 Buy ratings and 3 Holds assigned in the last three months, the consensus rating comes in as a Moderate Buy. The $95.50 average price target implies 5% upside potential in the coming 12 months. (See Abbott stock analysis on TipRanks).

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