In the wake of widespread news and worldwide concerns regarding efforts to contain the spread of the latest strain of the coronavirus, Salt Lake City, Utah-based molecular diagnostics company Co-Diagnostics Inc. (CODX:NASDAQ), today announced that "it has completed principle design work for a PCR screening test for new coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, intended to address potential need for detection of the virus."
The company indicated that following the guidelines published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the new test was designed using its proprietary software system featuring the firm's patented CoPrimer™ technology.
The firm advised that "an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the pneumonia-like 2019-nCoV has spread rapidly over the past two weeks, after first being discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan on December 31, 2019." Subsequently, Chinese officials confirmed human-to-human transmission of the virus on January 20, 2020, and have implemented a soft quarantine effectively placed on Wuhan, warning people not to travel to or from the city. Wuhan has a population of approximately 11 million and is located along the Yangtze River about 500 miles due west of Shanghai.
The company's CEO Dwight Egan commented, "There are several challenges to developing a test for a virus so relatively new on the world stage, especially one with many closely related genetic cousins such as SARS and MERS. One of the most important advantages of our CoPrimer platform is its ability to reliably and accurately differentiate between similar genetic sequences, in order to reduce the likelihood of a false positive diagnosis. With a situation currently unfolding where at least 17 deaths have already been reported among the hundreds infected, it is vital that healthcare professionals have access to the highest-quality diagnostic tools available, to be able to provide prompt and accurate diagnoses...We believe that if the WHO takes the step of declaring the illness a global health emergency following collection of more data in the days and weeks to come, Co-Diagnostics will be well positioned to quickly assist in providing these state of the art tools to affected countries."
Co-Diagnostics is a molecular diagnostics firm headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, that "develops, manufactures and markets new, state-of-the-art diagnostics technology". The company employs its innovative molecular tools for detection of infectious diseases, liquid biopsies for cancer screening and agricultural applications. The firm's technology is "utilized for tests that are designed using the detection and/or analysis of nucleic acid molecules (DNA or RNA)." In addition, Co-Diagnostics creates and licenses specific tests in order to locate genetic markers for use in other applications and industries besides infectious diseases.
Co-Diagnostics started the day with a market capitalization of around $19.6 million with approximately 17.34 million shares outstanding and a short interest of about 3.4%. CODX shares opened greater than 140% higher today at $2.76 (+$1.63, +144.25%) over yesterday's $1.13 closing price. The stock has traded today between $1.88 and $2.80 per share and is currently trading at $2.20 (+$1.07, +94.69%).[NLINSERT]
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