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Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) is buying the Dutch diagnostics company Qiagen (QGEN) in an $11.5 billion deal that expands the laboratory equipment maker’s ability to detect infectious diseases, including the new coronavirus.

Qiagen announced last week that it had shipped a newly developed test kit to detect the virus that causes Covid-19 to four hospitals in China. The company says the kit can distinguish the novel coronavirus from 21 pathogens that cause serious respiratory disease and delivers results in about an hour with little effort by lab technicians. Qiagen was also shipping the kits to Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.


Marc Casper, chief executive officer of Thermo Fisher in Waltham, Mass., said the deal announced early Tuesday morning will help his company broaden its business, from scientific discovery to diagnostics.

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