Alt Data for COVID-19: Tracking the Testing Arms Race
Tests used to determine COVID-19 infection have and will continue to play a key role in managing the spread of the virus. As nations race to acquire test kits on a massive scale, a subset of companies in the pharma, biotech, and medical device industries stand to profit from this unprecedented demand. To identify these companies, investors may wish to utilise sources of alternative data that capture the COVID-19 testing market.
In this report, we highlight these sources as well as less granular COVID-19 testing data with potential applications for macroeconomic analysis.
Given the esoteric nature of the medical testing market, we’ll begin with some brief background on COVID-19 test types. This is followed by an overview of publicly available sources of COVID-19 testing data.
Given the limitations associated with publicly reported statistics, the remainder of our report will focus on alternative datasets collected at various points in the test kit supply chain which may be used by investors to track COVID-19 testing volumes or kit sales at a brand/manufacturer-level.
BACKGROUND ON COVID-19 TESTING
Viral vs Antibody
There are currently two broad categories of tests for SARS-CoV-2:1
- Viral tests (aka molecular and antigen tests) – those that test for the presence of the virus, aiming to establish whether an individual is currently infected.
- Antibody tests (aka serology tests) – those that test for the presence of antibodies, aiming to establish whether an individual has been infected at some point in the past.