The ongoing coronavirus outbreak in China is making itself felt in a commercial sense as medical technology company Uscom (ASX: UCM), a supplier of monitoring devices, announced a material increase in orders for its USCOM 1A device in China during the past five weeks.
Confirmed cases of the coronavirus have risen to more than 40,554 while deaths have risen to 910.
To combat the growing crisis, Chinese authorities are beefing up response capability and have deployed treatment centres across the country including the purchase of medical equipment and supplies.
In a statement to the market, Uscom said unit orders so far in 2020 rose 124% compared to the first full two months of 2019 and that it plans to increase manufacturing output by approximately 121% on 10-year average outputs to meet anticipated demand for the second half of this year.
“Despite the jump in new USCOM 1A orders the company is unable to provide further details or specific numbers due to the rapidly evolving situation in China,” the company announced.
Uscom shares were suspended from trading on the ASX pending an imminent announcement but did manage to post a 52% gain in Monday’s trading session.
Overnight, UK authorities declared the coronavirus outbreak a “serious and imminent threat to public health”, a step that could activate additional powers to fight the spread of the disease.
The USCOM 1A device is a haemodynamic monitor that provides unique diagnostic and therapeutic information about cardiovascular function, “noninvasively within five minutes”.
According to reports, Uscom’s devices are being specifically installed for the monitoring of hospital patients diagnosed with coronavirus while the company admitted that speculation was already swirling in online investment forums regarding the applicability of the device.
The device was originally fast-tracked for approval in China due to its potential importance in the management of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), an illness also caused by a coronavirus.
Since being made available on a global basis, Uscom’s device has been widely adopted for the management and monitoring of infectious diseases in ICU’s in China and other parts of the world and scooped a five-year extension of its regulatory certification from the China National Medical Products Administration in recent months.
“The USCOM 1A is a specialised technology developed to simplify diagnosis and management of infectious diseases and is now being implemented widely in China under new National Government released Coronavirus Protocols to save the lives of the most seriously ill patients,” said Uscom’s executive chairman Rob Phillips.
The Coronavirus outbreak has gripped the world’s attention and has resulted in dozens of quarantine procedures being enacted across the world.
In China, several major cities have been placed on lockdown while over 40,235 cases are currently being treated.
“This is a dangerous epidemic in the world’s most populous country, and the Government of China is acting decisively to limit the spread and impact of the disease by providing guidelines, equipment and personnel to most effectively care for the 1.4 billion people of China,” said Mr Phillips.
“This epidemic is forcing our technology from the hands of a small number of infectious disease experts into the hands of physicians dealing day to day with tens of thousands of patients with deadly infections.”
“Uscom has a wholly-owned subsidiary in Beijing with staff, partners and friends in China, and our wishes are with the people of China at this difficult time and we are committed to supporting them in every way possible; Uscom is in China and with China,” he added.