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Qiagen Reaffirms Effectiveness of PCR Tests on Omnicron Variant

Qiagen N.V. (QGEN) announced that its SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests remain accurate and effective against the new variant Omnicron. The Omnicron variant, which has emerged from South Africa, is severely infectious and highly transmissible compared to the last delta variant.

QGEN Shares closed up 3.5% at $56.47 on November 26.

Qiagen provides sample and assay technology to transform biological samples into valuable molecular insights. Based in the Netherlands, its shares have gained 17% over the past year.

PCR Tests

The company evaluated its PCR tests against the new emergent variant, B.1.1.529, and found that its tests gave accurate and reliable results in detecting the variant of concern. The evaluation was conducted on data available in the GISAID and GenBank public databases.

The company noted that the results applied to all of its PCR tests for detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus including artus SARS-CoV-2 Prep&Amp UM Kit which is a single kit test, QIAstat-Dx which detects the virus in an hour, as well as its laboratory testing system NeuMoDx 96 and 288.

The company stated that it is continuously monitoring the effectiveness of its PCR tests against the virus and its variants on a biweekly basis. According to Qiagen, the virus is capable of self-mutations due to erroneous or ineffective replication of the virus genome, and these mutations produce variants with slightly different properties or completely new strains.  

Management Comments

Dr. Davide Manissero, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Qiagen said, “The best way to fight the global COVID-19 pandemic is a combination of extensive vaccinations, rigorous testing with gold-standard PCR tests, aggressive surveillance of new variants, and above all compassionate treatment for those infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

Dr. Manissero added, “Further genomic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 samples worldwide will vastly increase transparency and help us identify and respond to potentially dangerous mutations of the virus, while at the same time broadening the database we can use to verify if vaccines and tests continue to be effective.”

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Analysts’ Take

Recently, Kepler Capital analyst Oliver Reinberg downgraded the stock to a Hold rating with a price target of $56.60, which implies that the shares are almost fully valued at current levels.

Overall, the stock has a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 3 Buys and 6 Holds. The average Qiagen price target of $57.53 implies 1.88% upside potential to current levels.  

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