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Fulgent Readies Covid-19 Test

Shares of Temple City-based genetic testing company Fulgent Genetics Inc. soared March 17, as the company announced the launch of a new genetic test for detecting the Covid-19 virus.

Fulgent and MedScan Laboratory Inc. of Williston, N.D., its partner, will submit the test to the Food and Drug Administration in coming weeks for fast-track approval, according to the announcement.

Fulgent and MedScan have developed a “next-generation sequencing” test that sequences the entire viral genome instead of the limited sequencing used by the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction tests currently on the market, according to the announcement from Fulgent.

This means that the new test can use a wider range of reagents, thereby avoiding a potential shortage of reagents as mass testing for the virus gets underway.

Fulgent said it can process thousands of Covid-19 tests per day with the new test.

Shares of Fulgent shot up 26% in premarket trading immediately after the announcement, opening March 17 at $9.06 a share. The share price then fell back a bit, closing March 18 at $8.15 a share, though it was still up 20% from the March 16 close.

Fulgent and MedScan Laboratory said they will begin collecting and analyzing samples this week. They are operating under the partnership name MedScan Laboratory.

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