OPKO Health's (NASDAQ:OPK) BioReference Labs business unit is the latest company to develop a test for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The company announced Friday it's accepting specimens for testing from healthcare providers nationwide, and that it is working with the New York State Department of Health to create a drive-thru testing facility in New Rochelle, N.Y., a community just north of The Bronx that has been hard hit by the epidemic.
The healthcare company's drive-thru testing site will be the first of its kind on the East Coast, and is expected to be able to handle up to 200 cars per day. The company expects to have the capacity to conduct 5,000 tests daily at other testing sites in New York beginning next week, too.
Currently, more than 135,000 people have been confirmed to have COVID-19 worldwide. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Friday that his state now has 421 cases, making it the hardest hit in the U.S. That figure is expected to rise significantly as more people are tested.
The growing availability of COVID-19 screening is welcome news, given how severely the test kit shortage has hampered health officials' responses so far. Last week, BioReference Labs larger competitors, LabCorp (NYSE:LH) and Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) also began offering their in-house-developed tests nationwide.
In 2019, OPKO Health reported revenue of $902 million and a net loss of $315 million. While bigger testing companies are likely to handle most of the nation's testing, BioReference Labs will likely secure a meaningful share because of its footprint in key markets, including New York.