DOI: 10.1111/trf.17612 ISSN: 0041-1132

A novel mitigation strategy for the prevention of transfusion‐transmitted malaria

Laura Tonnetti, Jamel A. Groves, Deanna Self, Manisha Yadav, Bryan R. Spencer, Kristin Livezey, Jeffrey M. Linnen, Susan L. Stramer
  • Hematology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy



Malaria is caused by protozoa of the genus Plasmodium and transmitted by Anopheles mosquitos. In the US, blood donors are assessed for malaria risk, including donor travel or previous residence in endemic areas and history of malaria by questionnaire and deferred for three months or three years, respectively.


The Procleix Plasmodium Assay is a qualitative nucleic acid test based on transcription‐mediated amplification (TMA) for the detection of 18S ribosomal RNA of P. falciparum, P. ovale, P. vivax, P. malariae, and P. knowlesi for use on the Procleix Panther system. Analytical sensitivity was evaluated with in vitro transcripts and infected red blood cells. For clinical specificity, 12,800 individual donations and 283 pools of 16 samples from routine US donors were screened. Malaria risk was evaluated by testing 862 donors deferred for 3 years. Reactive results were confirmed with in‐house real‐time TMA assay and serology.


Assay sensitivity was 8.47–11.89 RNA copies/mL and 2.10–6.82 infected red cells/mL. Specificity was 99.99% in 12,800 individual donations and 100% in 283 pools of 16. Of 862 tested deferred donor samples, one donor (0.12%) confirmed positive individually and in pools; he remained confirmed positive for 13 months. The infected donor was a prior resident of a malaria‐endemic area in West Africa.


The Procleix Plasmodium Assay showed high sensitivity and specificity and detected Plasmodium RNA in an asymptomatic presenting donor. This assay may prove helpful as a screening test versus the use of risk questions to reduce the number of donors deferred for malaria risk.

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