"Never let a good crisis go to waste."
When Winston Churchill made that memorable quip, World War II was the crisis he had in mind. But the sentiment is still applicable today in the midst of our current crisis -- the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several companies have risen to the challenge presented by this global health disaster. Those who invested in these companies earlier this year have already enjoyed substantial returns. But these three pandemic stocks still hold a lot more growth potential.
In terms of stock performance, Novavax (NVAX -6.09%) has without question been the biggest winner so far among the leaders in the coronavirus vaccine race. The biotech stock has skyrocketed more than 2,700% year to date -- and it just might go a lot higher.
Currently, there are only 10 COVID-19 vaccine candidates in late-stage testing, five of which are potential contenders in the U.S. market. Novavax's NVX-CoV2373 is one of them. The company has already initiated a phase 3 clinical study of the experimental vaccine in the U.K. and hopes to soon begin one in the U.S.
Novavax has signed vaccine supply deals with the U.S. and U.K., and has reached an agreement in principle with the Canadian government. If NVX-CoV2373 wins regulatory approvals or authorizations, the company stands to potentially make billions of dollars.
But Novavax's hopes aren't riding solely on NVX-CoV2373. The biotech is moving forward with plans to file for FDA approval of its flu vaccine candidate, NanoFlu, which also has the potential to generate blockbuster sales. In addition, Novavax is exploring a combination of NVX-CoV2373 and NanoFlu as a COVID-19/flu vaccine for post-pandemic use.
2. Teladoc Health
Many Americans used telehealth services for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two surveys conducted by Accenture and by The Harris Poll indicate that telehealth will remain popular even after the pandemic is over. That's great news for Teladoc Health (TDOC -0.24%).
Teladoc's shares have soared by 170% so far in 2020, propelled by its increasing revenues and user base.
Expect a lot more growth in the near future. Teladoc is in the midst of acquiring Livongo Health (LVGO), a deal that will put it at the forefront of providing virtual care to help people manage chronic conditions. This transaction, which is expected to close later this year, should make Teladoc even more attractive to customers seeking to lower their healthcare costs.
Teladoc management thinks that once Livongo's services are factored into the equation, its addressable market will total $121 billion in the U.S. alone. Granted, it doesn't and won't have the telehealth market to itself. However, it's the biggest player in telehealth services and will only extend its lead with the Livongo acquisition. Teladoc's opportunities in virtual care should make this stock an even bigger winner over the next decade than it already has been over the past year.
3. Abbott Labs
Most stocks will never grow in value as quickly as Novavax and Teladoc have recently. However, if you're looking for a pandemic stock that could make you a lot of money over a longer period of time, Abbott Laboratories (ABT 0.11%) should be right up your alley.
Abbott's shares are up "only" 24% so far this year. However, the company appears to be poised to enter a new stage of strong growth. One big reason why is that Abbott has emerged as a leader in COVID-19 diagnostic testing. It has secured FDA emergency use authorization for six COVID-19 tests. Its BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Card diagnostic could reshape the coronavirus testing market by delivering results in 15 minutes for as little as $5 per test.
Of course, Abbott markets many other products as well. In particular, its Freestyle Libre continuous glucose monitoring device is already a big winner with diabetes patients globally, and sales are picking up thanks to the launch of a new version.
Another way that Abbott can help make investors richer is with its dividend. Abbott has paid a quarterly dividend since 1924 and has increased its payouts annually for 48 consecutive years. Yet another dividend hike is likely on the way in the near future.