(Bloomberg) -- Surging virus cases tied to the omicron variant lifted Abbott Laboratories’s Covid-19 testing sales in the latest quarter to nearly match their highest earlier levels. 

Abbott reported $2.3 billion in virus-related testing revenue for the fourth quarter, falling just short of the unit’s $2.4 billion in sales in the year-earlier period, when the world was in the grip of a similar sharp increase in infections. The company recorded $7.7 billion in Covid testing sales in all of 2021. 

Abbott’s Covid testing sales are also increasingly coming from rapid testing products like its BinaxNOW antigen test, which was in high demand as cases climbed and people gathered with family and friends over the holiday season. Three rapid tests brought in $2.1 billion of the overall quarterly Covid testing sales, Abbott said. 

It’s likely that sales of rapid tests have continued at a strong pace for Abbott and other test makers in the early weeks of this year. Tests are being snapped up quickly, making it challenging for retailers to keep them in stock, and the Biden administration has announced a series of measures aimed at bolstering the testing market longer-term. 

However, omicron is beginning to show signs of loosening its hold on some parts of the country, and as cases fall test sales could follow.

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