Breaking social taboos and ensuring accessibility with at-home HPV test Viwipe
This non-invasive, low-cost, paper-based cervical pre-screening solution by Yihan Dong empowers women to prevent cervical cancer through HPV self-tests proactively
UK-based designer Yihan Dong develops Viwipe with bioengineering researcher and doctor Kenny Malpartida Cardenas – a prototype HPV home-testing kit utilizing menstrual blood collected in the privacy of the user’s own home.
This all-in-one kit lets users collect and send off menstrual blood samples for lab testing as an alternative to conventional cervical screenings.
Did you know that cervical cancer is the fourth biggest killer? More than 300,000 women lose their lives to this disease every year. 99% of cases are linked to HPV.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that is transmitted during sexual contact and has no obvious symptoms once contracted, but can lead to cervical cancer if it goes undetected and untreated. However despite this risk – in-person screenings are often seen to be invasive and daunting and are avoided out of fear or embarrassment.
“Our goal is to eliminate cervical cancer, save lives and improve screening accessibility!” shares Dong.
Viwipe enables one to collect samples for testing themselves, leading to more frequent testing and eventually lowering the rate of serious illness.
It contains – the paper-based test itself, a pipette, an instruction sheet, secure packaging, a return envelope and clear instructions are printed onto the surface of the paper test as well.
“The design balances medical rigor and friendliness – the monochrome colors for the kits and products keeps manufacturing costs down – the test kit costs under five pounds to make. Black ink was chosen for the test paper – the more colorful inks we have, the harder it’s to do comparison experiments, which may cause incorrect results!” Dong explains.
This innovative test features three sheets of thin paper where the first sheet encompasses a waterproof backing layer created from body-safe materials, as well as four three-millimeter-sized cut-out holes.
Additionally, the middle layer comprises filter paper that retains menstrual blood and the bottom layer is printed with a hand placement guide – users can hold this part of the kit and utilize it to wipe off their menstrual blood.
Once samples are collected, the kit is further contained within reinforced triple-layer packaging and could then be sent via post to the laboratory.
Lab staff would then extract the samples and test for high-risk HPV types linked to cervical cancer – once processed, one could expect to receive their results in under 30 minutes.
“Viwipe revolutionizes cervical screening by integrating menstrual blood with paper-based technology, offering novel, low-cost and accurate HPV test kits. Its human-centered approach transfers paper-based blood collection (Dried Blood Spot, DBS) into the form of toilet paper to reduce costs and simplify the user experience.
Aiming to explore the medical potential of menstrual blood and transforming paper technology into a user-friendly format – it’s as easy to use as toilet paper. Viwipe prioritizes biological safety and sees the potential for self-testing to detect other diseases – community engagement design breaks social taboos and ensures accessibility for all!” concludes Dong.