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AIIMS embarks on the study to evaluate the accuracy of indigenous HPV kits

In a groundbreaking move, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, has introduced the first-ever made-in-India testing kits for the human papillomavirus (HPV), the leading cause of cervical cancer. This initiative, announced on Friday, marks the beginning of a multicenter study aimed at developing indigenous and cost-effective HPV tests for cervical cancer screening.


Cervical cancer ranks as the fourth most common cancer among women worldwide, with India reporting it as the second most prevalent cancer among women after breast cancer. The current HPV test kits are not only expensive but also require sophisticated laboratory setups, leading to delays in processing and report delivery. The new indigenous test kits are expected to be more affordable and offer faster turnaround times for results.


AIIMS New Delhi stated that the project received support from the DBT-BIRAC Grand Challenges India, in collaboration with the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Validation studies for the HPV tests will be conducted at AIIMS New Delhi, the National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (NICPR) in Noida, and the National Institute for Research in Reproductive and Child Health (NIRRCH) in Mumbai.


The study, scheduled to span the next three months, aims to produce credible results, followed by quality assurance checks. Dr. Bhatla, leading the project, expressed optimism, stating that by the third quarter of the year, they anticipate positive outcomes and the integration of the new kits into the national screening program.


With 1,200 samples collected for the study from IARC's biorepository in France, including positive, negative, and differently graded samples of cancer-positive cases from patients above 30 years old, the project addresses the critical need for low-cost HPV tests tailored to the Indian population. Dr. Bhatla emphasized the urgency of developing tests that can detect major cancer-causing HPV genotypes, are automated, and do not require extensive technical expertise or infrastructure.


The project's overarching goal is to validate 'made in India' HPV tests for cervical cancer screening against international quality standards, benefiting millions of women in India and other low- and middle-income countries. Dr. Bhatla highlighted that evaluating tests with fewer HPV types is a novel aspect of the study, enhancing test accuracy and cost-effectiveness for the program.

Source - Business Standard, Indian Express and AIIMS



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