What happened

Even as stocks moved into a bear market in March, shares of Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) rose 2.8% for the month, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Investors sought out shares of companies less vulnerable to a slowdown linked to the coronavirus outbreak.

Illumina, which develops and sells genome sequencing systems and related analysis tools, said last month that it hasn't experienced significant supply chain or other delays so far.

Illumina also announced a partnership with IDbyDNA, using the company's platform for laboratory workflow management and analysis in its next generation sequencing systems for infectious diseases. Work will start with COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The genetic sequencing project may play an important role in the development of better tests to detect the virus.

A strand of DNA is shown in an image of the genetic sequencing of coronavirus.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Coronavirus cases now total more than 1 million worldwide, and because of the health crisis, companies in various industries have faced supply disruptions, temporary store shutdowns, and sales declines.

Medical device players have also felt the impact, with a decrease in elective surgeries that use their instruments as hospitals focus resources on the influx of COVID-19 patients. Illumina's business with laboratories and researchers insulates it to a certain degree, and its work on infectious diseases through the recent IDbyDNA partnership is a positive in this otherwise challenging time.

Now what

As for the future, Illumina's dominance in its market makes it a great long-term bet because this position supports long-term revenue and therefore share gains. According to Morningstar, Illumina holds a 70% share of the sequencing market. Illumina also has proven it can deliver results. The company surpassed analysts' estimates for earnings per share in the past four quarters, and sales and profit have gained over the past two years.

Now investors should keep their eyes on any future statements from Illumina about COVID-19. If the company doesn't report significant disruptions in the coming weeks, this should be positive for the shares in the near term as well.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.