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Throughout the pandemic, companies big and small have responded to the call for widely available Covid-19 testing. It’s not just a public good: Supplying a flood of new diagnostics, digital backbones for data sharing, and on-site infrastructure is good business, and most companies are trying to capitalize on the demand for testing as much as possible, for as long as possible. But at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference this week, some of the biggest names in Covid-19 testing described the challenge of hitting that constantly moving target.

At the same conference last year, those companies had to temper their expectations for investors. Investments in test development, manufacturing, and distribution were an obvious need, but with the first vaccine jabs just going into arms, there was no telling how long demand would last. This year, as the wave of Omicron has swept across the world, some companies blew past their initial projections as testing volume exploded in the fourth quarter. Now, they’re riding high on the influx of cash.

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