Opko Health Announces It Will Offer Coronavirus Test

The testing by its BioReference Labs unit is set to begin around the country next week.
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Opko Health  (OPK) - Get Report shares soared Friday after the company announced that its BioReference Laboratories unit will offer a coronavirus test.

BioReference expects to begin providing testing next week. The tests will be available around the country through the unit’s network of patient service centers.

"Covid-19 testing is imperative in aiding front-line healthcare professionals and public health authorities to identify infected patients more quickly, limit the spread of infection and promote earlier diagnosis and treatment," Jon R. Cohen, executive chairman of BioReference, said in a statement.

"We want to specifically recognize how engaged and responsive HHS [Health and Human Services Department], the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] and the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] have been in helping us navigate quickly through the scientific and regulatory issues necessary to make testing available as soon as possible to the U.S. population."

President Trump signed a $7.8 billion emergency coronavirus spending bill Friday, as the number of infections topped 100,000 around the world. Deaths are estimated at more than 3,400.

Concern is growing about the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy. About 50% of German companies anticipate the virus will depress sales this year, according to a survey from the DIHK industry group published Friday.

Treasuries prices soared and bond yields sank as investors flocked to safety in reaction to the spread of the virus.

In the U.S., meanwhile,  (CVS) - Get Report announced that it will waive coronavirus testing charges for its Aetna insurance members. 

Opko Health shares traded at $2.68, up 30%. The stock has gained 1.2% over the last year.