Qiagen seeks to leverage consumer confidence in home testing

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Health department update

The German diagnostic group Qiagen aims to leverage consumers’ confidence in home testing by launching products that can detect daily infections without going to the operating room or hospital.

The company is preparing to enter the Blue Chip Dax Index next month due to the demand for the testing range of the coronavirus and its new variants, and the company has achieved rapid growth.

“It completely changed the paradigm of companies like ours,” CEO Thierry Bernard told the Financial Times.

Qiagen’s net profit for the first six months of this year was US$250 million, almost twice that of the same period in 2020, when Covid-19 testing was still limited.

Bernard said that the company’s current focus is no longer limited to the coronavirus, but direct-to-customer testing kits, ranging from influenza to gastrointestinal, respiratory and urinary tract infections.

In 2020, funds poured into the diagnostic industry, as the demand for Covid testing stimulated investor interest in the previously unpopular healthcare sector.

According to data from Crunchbase, diagnostic startups raised a record $4.8 billion last year, while market leaders Roche and Thermo Fisher stocks Trying to buy Qiagen Soaring last year.

In addition to bringing testing into the home, scientists are also committed to developing new technologies to expand diagnostic capabilities, including blood testing to detect early-stage cancer.Others are using Gene editing tool Crispr To create faster and more accurate tests.

Since January 2020, Qiagen’s stock price has risen by 63%, but due to uncertain demand for Covid testing, the stock price has fluctuated in recent months.

The company lowered its earnings and revenue forecasts for this year in July. It is expected that the introduction of vaccination will reduce the demand for testing, but Bernard said, “The number of Covid tests [are] It has risen again” in the third quarter. He added: “This seems to be increasing, and it will continue until at least 2021. “

Qiagen focuses on collecting saliva or blood samples at home, and then processing them in a qualified laboratory in less than half a day, rather than providing the results directly to customers for quick tests.

Bernard warned that there are “many ethical issues” with tests that provide home readings. “If you perform a test without any medical control and are not satisfied with the result, how would you deal with the result?”

“For example, you are positive for Covid-19, but for financial reasons, you absolutely need to work,” said the French executive. “Are you going to tell your employer?”

He added that social stigma surrounding other diseases may also prevent people from telling others about their test results.

Recently, the company based in Hilden near Dusseldorf is expanding its Covid product lineup. It is adding tests that can detect diseases in wastewater, which is particularly useful for monitoring the recent outbreak in New Zealand.

It also submitted a regulatory approval kit that can measure how long the T cell response triggered by the Covid vaccine lasts.

Preliminary studies have shown that the protection of T cells lasts longer than the protection provided by antibodies. Scientists believe that some vaccines may produce more effective T cell responses than others.

Given the importance of its products in the fight against the pandemic, Bernard called for mandatory vaccination of Qiagen’s 5,000 employees worldwide. “In some European countries, it is obviously impossible to ask someone if they have been vaccinated,” he said.

I believe in companies like Chagan. .. Should be completely regarded as a hospital, a health care provider, so vaccination should be mandatory,” he told the Financial Times.

He added: “I don’t want to violate personal freedom, but I believe that personal freedom ends at the boundary of collective security.

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