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Walgreens (WBA) Inks Deal to Expand COVID-19 Testing Access

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Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. WBA recently inked a deal with Abbott Laboratories ABT to sell Abbott’s BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Self Test over-the-counter nationwide at Walgreens stores. The agreement is part of Walgreens’ continued efforts to increase access to COVID-19 testing across the United States.

Walgreens is one of the first mass retailers to make Abbott’s test widely available. The test received the FDA’s emergency use authorization for over-the counter, non-prescription, asymptomatic use of the BinaxNOW Self Test for the detection of COVID-19 infection on Mar 31, 2021.

With the expansion of access to COVID-19 testing solutions, Walgreens continues to play a vital role in the nation’s pandemic response efforts.

BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Self Test at a Glance

BinaxNOW by Abbott is a lateral flow immunoassay proposed for the qualitative detection of nucleocapsid protein antigen from SARS-CoV-2 from individuals with or without symptoms or other epidemiological reasons to suspect COVID-19 infection.

This self-test version of BinaxNOW allows users to self-administer the test collection using a short nasal swab rather than the deep and invasive nasopharyngeal swab. The results are available in 15 minutes.

More in the News

Despite the wide availability of vaccines, COVID-19 testing remains a vital tool to keep communities safe. Walgreens has taken a significant step to increase testing capacity at more than 5,500 Walgreens pharmacies and is also planning to expand testing to 6,000 drive-thru testing sites with half of these sites offering the no-cost, rapid Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test.

The addition of this rapid antigen over-the-counter test in-store will help customers gain access to testing solutions when and how they need it — at home or at one of the company’s conveniently-located testing sites. The BinaxNOW Self Test paves the way for Americans to get an accurate and affordable test on their own terms, as and when required.

COVID-Related Developments by Walgreens

In February 2021, Walgreens entered into an agreement with Labcorp to sell Pixel by Labcorp COVID-19 PCR Test Home Collection Kits over the counter at up to 6,000 Walgreens stores nationwide, starting spring 2021. The addition of this collection kit in-store will enable customers to have access to testing solutions as and when needed – at home, in store or at one of Walgreens’ other conveniently-located testing sites.

During the same month, Walgreens announced that Clinical Reference Laboratory makes the FDA-authorized CRL Rapid Response COVID-19 Saliva Test available through Walgreens Find Care. Using Walgreens Find Care, individuals can connect with CRL’s website to order the test if they meet one or more of the clinical guidelines for COVID-19 testing by completing a short online questionnaire.

Industry Prospects

Per Grand View Research, the global COVID-19 diagnostics market size was valued $84.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to see a CAGR of 3.1% by 2027.

Considering market growth, Walgreens’ continued efforts to expand its COVID-19 testing solution are well-timed.

Price Performance

Shares of the company have gained 25.5% in a year’s time compared with the industry’s growth of 27.7%.

Zacks Rank and Key Picks

Currently, Walgreens carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A few better-ranked stocks from the broader medical space include Cantel Medical Corp. CMD and ConforMIS, Inc. CFMS, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Cantel Medical has an estimated long-term earnings growth rate of 19%.

ConforMIS has a projected long-term earnings growth rate of 42%.

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Abbott Laboratories (ABT) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) : Free Stock Analysis Report

ConforMIS, Inc. (CFMS) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Cantel Medical Corp. (CMD) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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