Quest Diagnostics Inc. (DGX) said it has received emergency use authorization (EUA) for its self-collection Covid-19 test kit from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The company expects to have more than 500,000 kits available by the end of June, with plans to make additional kits on an ongoing basis. The kit enables individuals to self-collect a nasal specimen sample using a swab at home or in a healthcare setting when requested by a healthcare provider.
"COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing has been constrained partly by limited supplies of swabs and trained healthcare professionals to do the specimen collection," said Steve Rusckowski, Quest’s Chairman, CEO and President. "The self-collection kit enables an individual to self-collect at home, and the process is far less invasive and uncomfortable than many traditional methods."
The self-collection kit can also be used on children supervised by an adult as well as adults. The collected specimens are shipped overnight via FedEx to labs and can be tested with Quest’s SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test that received EUA in March, the company said. It plans to make the self-collection kits available for healthcare providers for patient care and healthcare workers as well as for return-to-work testing programs.
The diagnostics company added that it already tested specimens using a similar collection method in real-world settings in drive-thru facilities and other onsite Covid-19 testing sites across the U.S.
Since the beginning of April, Quest Diagnostics’ shares have almost doubled and are trading at $118.28 as of Friday’s close.
Despite the recent rally, five-star analyst David S Macdonald at SunTrust Robinson on May 21 raised the stock’s price target to $130 (9.9% upside potential) from $110, while maintaining a Hold rating on the stock.
Wall Street analysts take a cautiously optimistic stance on the stock. The Moderate Buy consensus is made up of 8 Holds, 5 Buys and 1 Sell. The $115.36 average price target now implies 2.5% downside potential for the shares in the coming 12 months. (See Quest Diagnostics stock analysis on TipRanks).
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