HPV virus assay installed in labs across England

Improved detection as NHS rolls out testing for women with low-grade cervical abnormalities

The Roche cobas HPV test is operational in laboratories across England

As the NHS cervical cancer screening programme (NHS CSP) rolls out high-risk human papilloma virus testing for the triage of women with borderline or low-grade cervical abnormalities, 30 laboratories across the county have installed the Roche cobas HPV assay.

Local cervical screening programmes have been preparing to present a business case for approval and central funding for the implementation of HPV triage and test of cure. Only programmes with a minimum annual workload of 35,000 can apply and the HPV assay used must be approved by NHS CSP. Currently, only five commercially-available tests have been approved, including the cobas HPV test on the cobas 4800 instrument.

The test is designed for screening large numbers of samples for the virus. Unlike other assays, it provides a separate result for the highest risk HPV genotypes (HPV 16 and HPV 18) in addition to a pooled result for all HR-HPV genotypes. This separate simultaneous detection of HPV 16 and HPV 18 further enhances risk stratification, allowing women who may need more intensive follow-up and intervention to be identified.

Companies