Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer, which kills more than 270,000 women worldwide each year. When caught and treated in its earliest stages, cervical cancer has a high survival rate, but screening devices are expensive and require trained medical staff to use them. More than 85 percent of cervical cancer deaths occur in developing countries, where medical infrastructure is often lacking.
We invested US$13 million in a five-year project through PATH to develop and test a rapid HPV screening technology in China and India for use in developing countries. The careHPV™ test does not require electricity or running water and can be administered by medical staff with minimal training. Results are available in just 3 hours. The test has a 90 percent accuracy rate—comparable to that of the most expensive screening technologies but at a fraction of the cost.
Since its invention in 2007, the technology has been through clinical trials in low-resource regions in Asia and Africa, showing huge potential to save tens of thousands of lives. QIAGEN, a multinational health technology company, began offering careHPV™ manufactured in Shenzhen, China, for sale in China in 2013 and in India in 2014.