Irish life sciences company Trinity Biotech says it has been working on a test to identity COVID-19 in human blood samples.
The test could identify people who have had the virus and developed immunity, allowing them to potentially return to work, the company said. Shares in the company rose sharply, up more than 70pc yesterday at one stage before moderating.
The new test is substantially complete and will be manufactured at the Co Wicklow based company’s Jamestown, New York facility and will avail of fast track regulatory approval processes, the company said.
The company said it is also developing a rapid point-of-care Covid-19 test that can be run in 12 minutes using one drop of blood procured by finger prick.
However, other parts of Trinity’s business have been hit by the spread of Covid-19 across the globe, including because fewer non-outbreak related medical tests are being done as healthcare systems gear up for the pandemic.
The Irish company is listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in the US. It develops, manufactures and markets diagnostic systems for the healthcare and clinical laboratory markets in more than 110 countries, and it employs over 500 people.
Results on Tuesday for 2019 show full year revenues were $90.4m, down 6.8pc Operating profit for the year decreased from $6.7m to $5.3m.
Chief financial officer Kevin Tansley said the gross margin for the year, which was 42.2pc compared to 42.7pc in 2018, was adversely impacted by these lower revenues due to the inherent fixed cost base being spread over lower volumes coupled with adverse currency movements.
The results for the fourth quarter also include an impairment charge of $24.4m, in part resulting from a decision to close a manufacturing plant in Carlsbad, California on June 30, 2020.
The company also said it will exit HIV point-of-care testing in the US.
“For a number of years, this market has been declining as the funding for federal testing programmes has contracted, to such an extent that it no longer made economic sense for us to continue serving this market.”