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Qiagen Rises on Launch of Covid Antigen Test

Qiagen shares were higher after the medical-diagnostics company launched an antigen test to detect coronavirus infections within two to 15 minutes.

Shares of Qiagen  (QGEN) - Get Qiagen N.V. Report rose after the medical diagnostics company launched a portable digital test to detect coronavirus antigens in infected people within two to 15 minutes.

Qiagen shares at last check rose 2.1% to $47.49.

The Hilden, Germany, company said its test "can be used by laboratories to detect SARS-CoV-2 antigens in people with active infections."

An antigen test reveals if a person is currently infected with a pathogen such as the coronavirus. Once the infection has gone, the antigen disappears.

"Antigen testing is playing an increasingly important role in national testing strategies as a complementary tool to PCR, the gold-standard for detecting active COVID-19 infections,” Chief Executive Thierry Bernard said in a statement.

The QIAreach SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test was developed in partnership with the Australian digital diagnostics company Ellume.

Qiagen has begun marketing and distributing this test in the U.S. after applying for Food and Drug Administration emergency-use authorization for symptomatic patients. 

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The CE-IVD registration for European Union and other markets is expected as early as the end of this year.

Antigen tests are relatively inexpensive and can be used at the point-of-care. Qiagen, however, said a point-of-care claim for this test will be added later this year.

This test can process more than 30 swab samples per hour, providing digital test results that do not require subjective interpretation, the company said. 

Qiagen said this test can run simultaneously with antibody tests. "This flexibility will be particularly valuable when vaccines are introduced," the company said.

Drugmaker Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report on Nov. 9 said that its developing coronavirus vaccine was 90% effective in late-stage trials. The New York health-care giant plans to seek emergency-use authorization from the FDA this month.

In August Qiagen launched a covid-19 antibody test, also in partnership with Ellume. 

An antibody test shows whether a person has already been exposed to an infection.