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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

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
Dec 3, 2020 - Health

WSJ: Pfizer expects to ship half as many COVID vaccines as planned in 2020

A Pfizer factory in Puurs, Belgiam on Dec. 3. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech have halved their original estimates for how many coronavirus vaccines would be shipped globally by the end of this year, citing supply-chain issues, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Why it matters: The U.K. government has ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine — enough to inoculate some 20 million people. The companies now expect to ship 50 million vaccines by the end of 2020, per WSJ.

Updated 23 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Highlights from Biden and Harris' first joint interview since the election

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down with CNN on Thursday for their first joint interview since the election.

The big picture: In the hour-long segment, the twosome laid out plans for responding to the pandemic, jump-starting the economy and managing the transition of power, among other priorities.