Qiagen has rolled-out its careHPV Test, a new molecular diagnostic test for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV), in India.
The portable and easy-to-use careHPV test has colour-coded, easy-to-understand menus and self-contained reagents.
The test is designed to screen women in settings with limited healthcare infrastructure, such as areas lacking electricity, water or laboratories. It is also capable of tolerating variations in the temperature that occur in rural clinics lacking refrigeration for sample storage due to limited electricity or water.
HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer in women, so screening for the viral infection would ensure prevention and early treatment of the cancer.
Qiagen launched its careHPV test commercially in China in 2013, and it has been used in other countries since then as part of the company's social outreach efforts.
Similar in function to Qiagen's digene HC2 HPV test, CareHPV is made for use in low-resource settings.
Use in low-resource areas is limited for the HC2 test, which is more widely used in developed countries and large cities in emerging markets.
Annually, an estimated 72,000 women succumb to cervical cancer in India, which is more than one-fourth of the world's 270,000 annual deaths.
In India in particular, cervical cancer has accounted for 20% of female cancer-related deaths and is the largest cause of death in middle-aged Indian women.
Qiagen Asia Pacific president Dr Victor Shi said: "With the digene HC2 HPV Test serving areas that have modern healthcare infrastructure and the careHPV Test serving low-resource areas, QIAGEN is expanding our role as the global leader in preventive screening for cervical cancer and continuing to contribute to women's health around the world."
Qiagen developed the careHPV test with support from the international health organisation PATH.
Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute division of preventive oncology head of the department of gynecological oncology and officer in charge Dr Partha Basu noted the importance of the two-tiered approach to screening, which was carried out for four years in Kolkata and surrounding areas.
"Availability of the careHPV Test is an important step forward for the prevention of cervical cancer in India," Dr Basu said.
Image: Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide. Photo: courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.