Will the Cobas test replace the pap smear?

The Cobas test is similar to a pap smear test in that it analyses a small sample of cells taken from a woman’s cervix to test for cervical cancer or conditions leading to cervical cancer.

What's different:
Cobas Test
- A Cobas machine in a hospital lab looks for certain strains of the HPV virus known to cause cervical cancer.
- Patients to be screened once every 5 years.
- Results can be obtained on the next day.
Pap Smear
- The pap smear tests only for abnormal cells but not for the HPV virus.
- Patients to be screened once every 3 years.
- Results can take up to 5 weeks.

A pap smear is known to be not 100% reliable. Researchers claim that 1 out of 3 women who have cervical cancer receive the all-clear from a pap smear.

Early trials by British and U.S. researchers on 47,000 women over the age of 30 found that out of every 10 patients who were given the all-clear from a pap smear, 1 of them was found to have HPV using the Cobas test. But doctors still say it is ‘unreliable’ and ‘subjective’.

HPV is one of the known causes of cervical cancer. HPV, unlike HIV, can be "cured". The body's immune system can fight off the HPV (virus) like it fights off a common cold. It is possible for a woman who has HPV to to be naturally cured of it and not get cervical cancer. Note: There is no medication for HPV. Viruses cannot be "killed" with antibiotics, only bacteria can be treated with antibiotics.

It is still better for patients to be aware that they have HPV so that in the event that they do, they can go for further tests to monitor and check for tumours.

Source: Dailymail

Related post:
[Cervical cancer can be prevented]


David said...


The COBAS test is promising.

It is iteresting to compare testing conventions.

My wife gets a yearly PAP smear.

Of course the results take some time.


"The cobas b 123 POC system is a fast, multi-parameter analyzer, delivering many of the vital results that physicians need in order to make decisions in time critical situations. From one drop of blood the system can assess a patient’s oxygenation and acid/base status as well as deliver important information on electrolytes and the metabolites glucose and lactate within 2 minutes.

The new portable analyzer is designed for use in intensive care units for monitoring of blood gases mainly to determine whether a patient is receiving sufficient respiratory support, in emergency departments for patients suffering from heavy trauma or acute heart and lung diseases, operating rooms during surgery and other clinical areas including neonatal and dialysis units."

I worked with Arterial blood gas analyzers for many years.

Interesting devices that require a skilled operator, careful and routine maintenance, and a consistent quality control system.

Let us hope that earlier cancer detection will save more lives!