The TSX enjoyed a huge rebound this week, but the fight against the spread of the coronavirus has raged on in Canada, the United States, and across Europe. Today, I want to look at one company that could play a crucial role in fighting the coronavirus. Firstly, let’s look at where we are right now in the fight against this virus that has disrupted nearly every corner of the globe.
North America: The epicentre in the fight against the coronavirus
At the time of this writing, there were over 530,000 recorded cases of COVID-19 across the world. The United States had reported over 85,000 cases entering the morning of March 27. This marks the highest count of any nation on the planet. However, this may not tell the whole story.
The United States has ramped up testing in recent weeks. Consequently, it has been able to identify thousands of cases in a very short time period. The true number of COVID-19 cases around the world is unknowable, and experts have warned that it could already be in the tens of millions, as many positive cases have reported little or no symptoms.
In any case, the U.S. has emerged as the epicentre in the fight against the novel coronavirus. The state of New York had over 30,000 confirmed cases as of March 27.
Those with chronic respiratory illnesses have proven to be some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Hospitals in New York and around the world have scrambled to stash more ventilators in response to the overwhelming rush of new patients. New York state has approved technology that allows two patients to share a single ventilator. As of March 26, New York had 4,000 ventilators in the hospital system and was awaiting another 4,000 sent from the federal government.
One TSX-listed healthcare company that has offered its hand
VieMed Healthcare (TSX:VMD)(NASDAQ:VMD) provides in-home durable medical equipment and healthcare solutions to patients in the United States. This was one of the top healthcare stocks that I’d focused on in the previous week. Its shares have climbed 8.8% week over week as of close on March 26.
The company provides post-acute respiratory care services in the United States. It has established itself as a leader in the homecare ventilation market. Therefore, it is uniquely suited to meet some of the challenges presented by the coronavirus outbreak. In late 2019, VieMed released results from a new study on the impact of its non-invasive ventilation at home (NIVH) treatment. This is used to treat patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic respiratory failure (CRF).
Its study revealed that the use of NIVH is increasing, but that fewer than 5% of COPD and CRF patients are receiving this treatment. There is room for tremendous growth here, especially with a greater spotlight on respiratory illnesses. The option for top-quality in-home care is especially promising, as we witness hospitals wrestling with over-capacity in this crisis.
VieMed revenue rose 38% year over year to $80.3 million in 2019. Adjusted EBITDA increased 14% to a record $5.6 million in the fourth quarter. The company boasts an fantastic balance sheet and shares last had a favourable price-to-earnings ratio of 19.
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Fool contributor Ambrose O'Callaghan has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Viemed Healthcare Inc.