It turns out that getting tested for COVID-19 is a bigger hassle than it seems.
I have a medical procedure coming up, and my doctor required me to take a COVID-19 test even though I felt fine.
The first time I went to the urgent care office to get tested, the computer network was down, so they couldn’t enter my information and give me a test.
I came back the next day. And after waiting for an entire hour and answering a bunch of questions, I finally got what I came there for: a long swab jammed far back up my nose.
Overall, I’d say my experience wasn’t great … although, at least my results came back negative.
But thanks to a few innovative medical companies, COVID-19 testing is getting cheaper, faster and more convenient.
Upgrade No. 1: At-Home Tests
Picture Genetics, based in Temple City, California, is a division of Fulgent Genetics Inc. (Nasdaq: FLGT).
In June, the company received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its at-home COVID-19 test.
For $119, you can order a test in the mail. You then send your nasal swab back to Picture in a pre-labeled envelope, and it will email you your results in three to four days.
(Source: Picture Genetics)
Picture can test up to 30,000 samples a day. However, it’s currently expanding to a second, larger location, which will allow it to test a total of 90,000 samples a day.
Upgrade No. 2: Saliva Tests
Fluidigm Corp. (Nasdaq: FLDM) worked on a saliva-based COVID-19 test with the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
The FDA approved its test on Tuesday. That gives people an easy and inexpensive option to just take a saliva sample — no uncomfortable nasal swabs needed.
According to Fluidigm CEO Chris Linthwaite: “We have a high degree of confidence that this new test will not only enhance testing capacity but will also significantly improve speed to results and scale.”
Upgrade No. 3: 15-Minute Tests
Perhaps the biggest new development for COVID-19 is a 15-minute test from Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT).
The test just got FDA approval on Wednesday. President Donald Trump then announced a $750 million deal with Abbott at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night.
The test uses a nasal swab and is the size of a credit card. Best of all, it only costs $5.
Abbott’s Navica mobile app also makes accessing results quick and easy.
The Trump administration ordered 150 million of these tests. Abbott plans to start shipping them as early as next month before ramping up production in October.
More Innovations Are Ahead
What’s really amazing is that two of the companies I highlighted above — Fulgent and Fluidigm — are tiny.
Fulgent is just a $654 million company, and Fluidigm is only worth $592 million.
And there are many other small but innovative companies doing remarkable things today, whether it’s in biotech, the Internet of Things, virtual reality or other exciting tech fields.
These stocks aren’t like the Amazons, Netflixes or Apples of the world — those are the stocks of yesteryear.
Rather, small-cap companies are the next generation of massive winners. And they’re poised to return exponential growth to investors’ portfolios.
Next month, my colleague Ian King will have an incredible presentation for you highlighting some of the biggest opportunities in small companies like these.
You won’t want to miss it!
Assistant Managing Editor, Banyan Hill Publishing