2 of the best UK shares to buy as the Omicron variant spreads

I’m searching for the best British stocks to buy as the Covid-19 emergency drags on. Here are two top UK shares I’d load up on right now.

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The possibility that the Covid-19 crisis will worsen considerably due to Omicron is something that I as a UK share investor need to consider carefully.

I’m not just thinking about how my stocks portfolio could suffer in the short-to-medium term, however. I’m looking at stocks that I could buy to help offset weakness elsewhere. There are plenty of UK shares for me to buy whose services should remain in strong demand if the public health emergency persists. Here are two top stocks I’d buy if the battle against the pandemic begins to look shaky.

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Abingdon Health

Penny stock Abingdon Health (LSE: ABDX) makes rapid lateral flow tests that diagnose whether or not an individual has contracted Covid-19. It therefore serves an essential role in helping prevent the spread of the virus and in keeping the world turning during the pandemic.

Abingdon launched its BioSURE Covid-19 IgG Antibody Self Test over the summer, a kit that can detect infection from a drop of blood within 20 minutes. The company has embarked on massive investment at its manufacturing sites in York and Doncaster to meet strong demand. It also makes other medical products to detect infection. And more recently it has been undertaking work that could see it mass produce antigen tests for Avacta and Vatic Health. All this bodes well for future revenues.

The marketplace for coronavirus testing kits is huge, sure. And a high-profile failure of its testing kits could prove catastrophic for future business wins. But I’m encouraged by the reliability of Abingdon’s technologies so far and think its huge investment programme could deliver mighty returns for its shareholders.

Bunzl

Support services firm Bunzl (LSE: BNZL) is the perfect pick for me in uncertain times like these, I feel. It sells a huge range of essential products and services to a variety of end markets across the globe. This allows profits to remain stable during the good times and the bad.  And so it could be the perfect pick as the Omicron variant threatens the global economic recovery.

This strength-through-diversification is the reason I added the FTSE 100 firm to my shares portfolio several years back. But this isn’t the only reason I’m considering adding to my holdings today. This is because Bunzl’s revenues have actually risen as a direct result of Covid-19. Turnover rose 9.4% year-on-year in 2020 as demand for its masks, gloves, disinfectants and other protective products soared.

Bunzl shares trade on a P/E ratio just above 19 times for 2022. I think such a premium valuation is deserved given its long-term record of growing annual profits, whatever the weather. I plan to hold my Bunzl shares for a long time. That’s even though poor execution of its acquisition-led growth strategy creates notable risks. Failures on this front could have a particularly serious impact if they forced the firm to dial back its ambitious M&A drive.

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Royston Wild owns shares of Bunzl. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Bunzl. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Should you invest the value of your investment may rise or fall and your Capital is at Risk. Before investing your individual circumstances should be considered, so you should consider taking independent financial advice.

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