One of the inconveniences of COVID-19 tests is that they can take several hours to complete. A number of ASX stocks are attempting to create faster tests, including two that surged this morning.

AnteoTech Ltd (ASX:ADO), which said it has established a proof of concept for a rapid-test solution that can determine whether a patient has the virus, or if they have had the virus in the past but recovered, within 15 minutes.

The result comes through a reader developed by its collaborative partner, Axxin.

While the test remains 6-9 months away from commercialisation, CEO Derek Thomson said the company could make a difference.

“All the company, including myself, are immensely proud to have made the decision to develop this test as we believe our competency and product is unique and can make a substantial difference in the global fight against the COVID-19 virus,” he said.

Shares are currently sitting 77 per cent higher on Thursday.

ADO share price chart


Second was, Genetic Technologies (ASX:GTG) which doubled in the first 30 minutes of trade.

The company announced had filed a “provisional patent for its COVID-19 Severity Risk Test with the Patent Office in Australia”.

This is not a test for the virus itself, but for risk of an individual developing further serious diseases if they contract the virus.

“We see ourselves playing a very important part in responding to COVID-19 and we’re moving quickly to mobilise our partners to develop the right tools and technology to manage this pandemic,” said Genetic Technologies CEO George Muchnicki.

“We believe that the COVID-19 Severity Risk Test has the potential to play a critical role in how companies, governments and entire countries understand and manage preventative protocols moving forward.”

While a vaccine is perceived to be a “magical cure” for the pandemic, Dr Muchnicki this could help in deciding who gets it first. Specifically, people most at risk of death if they contract the virus could be identified as such and get vaccinated first.

Unfortunately for shareholders the news came through on the NASDAQ overnight, where the dual-listed company also trades as GENE.

The stock’s ASX listing was suspended within an hour of market open pending a price query.


Who else is in this field?

2020’s most successful IPO Atomo Diagnostics (ASX:AT1) is another.

The company was founded in 2010 and its traditional speciality has been HIV testing but since COVID-19 broke out it has also been working on testing kits for COVID-19.

Both of these work similar to a pregnancy test — a liquid sample, such as blood is applied to the test strip and if the target substance is present two lines will appear.

The company listed at 20 cents per share and sits 90 per cent higher than its IPO price.

AT1 share price chart

Chinese headquartered TBG Diagnostics (ASX:TDL) also pivoted to COVID test kits when the pandemic first broke out.

On March 16, when investors found out its COVID-19 tests were approved in Europe, shares spiked 438 per cent. Since then it has also been approved by the FDA.

But the stock was quickly suspended and has been ever since as the ASX inquired as to why and how investors found out other than through the ASX.

Another setback was China’s refusal to give TBG the green light to export the test kits from the country although this was eventually given in May.