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COVID-19 testing peaked in Q1 and Q2, BD president says

BD Life Sciences EVP and President Dave Hickey sits down with Yahoo Finance Live to talk about the rise of COVID cases as Omicron subvariants begin to spread, home testing kits, elevating alert levels in areas like New York City, and hospitals.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: Well, COVID cases, they are surging in the US, averaging over 100,000 a day, up 30% in just the past two weeks. And many cases are going unaccounted for in official reports because people simply are not testing. We want to bring in Dave Hickey. He's the president of BD Life Sciences, the maker of both clinical and at-home COVID tests. And it's great to have you here, Dave. I'm curious, just in terms of, we have cases surging. People aren't testing. What are you seeing demandwise from your business? When we see cases jump, have you seen the sales of your tests increase at all over the last couple of weeks?

DAVE HICKEY: Yeah. So Seana, thank you so much for having us on the show. And from BD's perspective, as you rightly said, we've had multiple point of care tests approved under the emergency use authorization, as well as the lab-based molecular tests. We definitely saw, sort of inconsistent with what we've said in sort of earnings releases, we definitely saw our spikes in the first and second quarter of BD's fiscal quarter. But now we're starting to see some demand a little bit, but certainly the peak for us with the point of care and the lab tests was definitely the first and second quarter.

DAVE BRIGGS: Do you have any data, though? I mean, anecdotally, I have two COVID test sites right near me, and they are empty 24 hours a day. They were packed a year ago. Do you have data to support how far down testing is today, despite cases skyrocketing?

DAVE HICKEY: Yeah, so, no, we-- I mean, in terms of the most current data, that is not available. I mean, obviously, we're still going through our quarter three earnings right now. You know, what I would say is that we have maintained inventory. We have maintained supply. We've got very strong distributor partners, who've got inventory ready in their channel. So should the demand pick up, we're ready to respond through our direct and distribution partners for either lab-based or point of care diagnostic tests.

SEANA SMITH: Dave, how do you see the at-home test market evolving? Because, yes, people are sick of COVID. People are sick of talking about it. They're sick of testing for it. But COVID isn't going away.

DAVE HICKEY: Yeah, so great question, Seana. And I think when I reflect back, if I think back over the last couple of years around the pandemic, and even right now with the surge in cases, it just shows how critical the role of diagnostic testing is. And I think there probably isn't a person on the planet that hasn't heard of a lab-based COVID test or a point of care rapid test. And I think there's room for both, and I think what the pandemic has done, particularly with point of care testing, it's created an opportunity and one that we're excited about that we think point of care testing is absolutely set to continue.

So when we think about it and to your question, will the COVID sort of pandemic become more of an endemic, so here in the US, it becomes more of a respiratory virus, where, again, solutions that we have in the marketplace and solutions that we're actively developing for at-home testing, imagine if you could actually do a flu A, a flu B, and a COVID test in the respiratory season if you were symptomatic to know whether I've got flu or COVID. So I think the role of point of care testing, self-testing is set to continue.

Also, the role of point of care testing, if I think back through the pandemic, even with hospital and hospital networks that have had to sort of manage when all the hospital beds were full of COVID patients, they managed high acuity patients at home. So there's a lot of dialogue right now around the hospital at home, the virtual hospital, that's still going to look for these types of diagnostic solutions that are connected into hospital ecosystems. Both of those opportunities, we're extremely excited about.

DAVE BRIGGS: Dave, are at-home flu testing, is that the new reality? And God forbid anything like COVID ever happens again, how much better positioned is this country going to be in?

DAVE HICKEY: So I think, I mean, obviously, a lot of our industry as a medical device diagnostics agents sort of arena was enabled by the FDA working with the emergency use authorizations in a public health emergency to facilitate COVID. But I think we've also got very comfortable with the role of sort of self-testing or testing in point of care areas that was nontraditional, when you think about places of work, school, universities, and so on. So I think whilst we need to see how this evolves, but I do think, if I think about unmet needs, if I think about opportunities, maybe not under the emergency use, but through a regular five, 10K, proven, safe, and effective trial. I think it would be a huge win if we could do flu, COVID testing at home.