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Expand chart
Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

The sustained coronavirus pandemic is leading to especially large windfalls for labs and companies that make the materials used for testing.

The big picture: Detecting widespread infection and helping set up clinical trials isn't free, and the botched federal response will keep demand for these supplies high for a long time.

By the numbers: Investors in companies directly involved with coronavirus testing are starting to reap their largest rewards six months into the pandemic.

  • Thermo Fisher, which makes test kits, reagents and materials used in vaccine and coronavirus drug trials, said third-quarter profit more than doubled compared to last year, reaching $1.9 billion. Revenue soared 36% to $8.5 billion. More than 20% of its revenue was tied to COVID-19 tests, equipment and services.
  • LabCorp said its third-quarter earnings more than tripled as COVID-19 test demand continued to surge and other routine lab tests started to come back.
  • Quest Diagnostics also said its profit doubled.

What they're saying: "We're on track to achieve a truly spectacular year," Thermo Fisher CEO Marc Casper told Wall Street this week after the company raised its full-year revenue and profit projections by 14% and 35%, respectively. "It's exciting to be able to set a new bar on performance, right?"

Between the lines: Enhanced federal payments for COVID-19 tests, as well as a one-year reprieve from Medicare cuts, will buoy labs.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.

Updated 18 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key FDA committee takes on the big booster question — Los Angeles County to require vaccination proof at indoor bars — France suspends 3,000 unvaccinated health workers without pay.
  2. Health: Worsening crisis at Rikers Island jail spurs call for action — 1 in 500 Americans has died — Cases are falling, but deaths are rising.
  3. Politics: White House invites call with Nicki Minaj to discuss vaccine — Gottlieb says CDC hampered U.S. response — 26 states have limited state or local officials' public health powers.
  4. Education: Denver looks to students to close Latino vaccination gap — Federal judge temporarily blocks Iowa's ban on mask mandates in schools — Massachusetts activates National Guard to help with school transportation.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.