DaVita Inc. DVA recently announced that its DaVita Clinical Research (“DCR”) study has found that dialysis patients who received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were at a lower risk of contracting the COVID-19 infection post-vaccination. The study also found that vaccinated patients were less likely to be hospitalized or die following breakthrough infection, unlike the unvaccinated patients.
The DCR study result was published online ahead of print by the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
The favorable study outcome regarding vaccination of patients suffering from end-stage kidney disease (“ESKD”) is expected to be a major achievement for DaVita.
Background of the Study
Per estimates, more than 500,000 Americans who have been diagnosed with ESKD receive life-sustaining dialysis care. Although these patients are at high risk of contracting the COVID-19 infection due to underlying health conditions that compromise their immune systems, they were not represented in the Phase III clinical trials of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.
Hence, to evaluate the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in this patient population, researchers analyzed electronic health records of DaVita dialysis patients who were vaccinated, which they compared with the unvaccinated controlled groups. The patients were observed to check for future COVID-19 infections and related clinical outcomes.
Significance of the DCR Study Outcome
The study results indicated that the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were quite effective in preventing COVID-19 infections. Further, the study demonstrated that the severeness of the COVID-19 infection was much less in vaccinated dialysis patients unlike the unvaccinated dialysis patients. Additionally, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were detected in rates similar to those seen in the broader Phase III clinical trials among the vaccinated dialysis patients.
Per management, the first large study aimed at understanding the clinical effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in the highly vulnerable ESKD patient population offers reassurance that COVID-19 mRNA vaccination is an effective clinical strategy to help protect such patients from COVID-19, and from associated hospitalization or death.
Per a report by ReportLinker published on GlobeNewswire, the global end-stage renal disease market was estimated at $30.85 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $69.92 billion by 2026 at a CAGR 14.6%. Factors like higher risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection in dialysis patients and increasing number of patients suffering from chronic kidney disease are likely to drive the market.
Given the market potential, the latest positive study outcome is expected to significantly boost DaVita’s business on a global scale.
Of late, DaVita has witnessed a few notable developments across its business.
This month, the company presented eight research abstracts from company representatives and medical professionals during the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week.
In October, DaVita reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2021, where it registered strong dialysis patient service revenues. It also acquired several dialysis centers, both within the United States and overseas.
Shares of the company have lost 10.8% in the past year compared with the industry’s 41.1% fall. The S&P 500 composite rose 26.1% in the said time frame.
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Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
Currently, DaVita carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).
Some better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space that have announced quarterly results are West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. WST, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. TMO and Chemed Corporation CHE.
West Pharmaceutical, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted EPS of $2.06, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 13.2%. Third-quarter revenues of $706.5 million outpaced the consensus mark by 3.2%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
West Pharmaceutical has an estimated long-term growth rate of 27.6%. The company surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 29.38%.
Thermo Fisher reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted EPS of $5.76, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 23.3%. Third-quarter revenues of $9.33 billion outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 12%. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.
Thermo Fisher has an estimated long-term growth rate of 14%. The company surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 9.02%.
Chemed reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted EPS of $5.06, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 13.5%. Third-quarter revenues of $538.7 million outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.3%. It currently has a Zacks Rank #2.
Chemed has an estimated long-term growth rate of 7.7%. The company surpassed estimates in three out of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 5.59%.
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