HealthDay News — According to a study published in The Lancet, the incidence of transfusion-transmitted malaria can be reduced by using a whole blood pathogen-reduction system.

Jean-Pierre Allain, MD, from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial to examine the efficacy and safety of a whole blood pathogen reduction technology for preventing transfusion transmission of Plasmodium spp parasites. 

Adults with blood group O+ who required up to 2 whole blood unit transfusions within 3 days of randomization were enrolled. Patients were randomized to receive transfusion with pathogen-reduced whole blood (111 patients) or whole blood prepared and transfused by standard local practice (112 patients). In both groups, patients received up to 2 whole blood unit transfusions that were retrospectively tested for parasitemia.

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The per-protocol population comprised 214 patients, 107 in each group. The researchers found that 65 non-parasitemic patients were exposed to parasitemic blood (28 treated and 37 untreated). Pathogen-reduced (treated) patients had significantly lower incidence of transfusion-transmitted malaria (4 versus 22%; P=.039). During the study, 92 of 223 patients (41%) reported 145 treatment-emergent adverse events, with similar incidence between the groups.

“Treatment of whole blood with the Mirasol pathogen reduction system for whole blood reduced the incidence of transfusion-transmitted malaria,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Terumo BCT, which manufactures the Mirasol pathogen reduction system and funded the study.


Allain JP, et al. “Effect Of Plasmodium Inactivation In Whole Blood On The Incidence Of Blood Transfusion-Transmitted Malaria In Endemic Regions: The African Investigation Of The Mirasol System (AIMS) Randomised Controlled Trial”. The Lancet. 2016 April 23. 387(10029): 1753-1761.

O’Brien SF. “Transfusion-Transmitted Malaria: Is Hope Around The Corner?”. The Lancet. 2016 April 23. 387 (10029): 1701-1703.

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