Volume 77, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detection of DNA is highly sensitive in diagnosing malaria. The specimen of choice for this assay has been whole blood samples from malaria patients. To retrospectively determine malaria infection rates in populations or cohorts for whom stored serum samples are available, we determined the ability of a nested PCR assay to detect DNA in stored serum samples. The PCR result was positive in 20 of 23 serum samples from patients with microscopy-confirmed malaria and negative in 8 of 8 healthy controls, resulting in a sensitivity of 87% and specificity of 100%. In all positive samples, species were correctly identified by PCR except for one case where a mixed infection was detected. The PCR is able to detect DNA in serum samples frozen up to 2.5 years and has the potential for the retrospective identification of malaria parasitemia in patient cohorts to determine potential interactions of malaria and other diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.


Article metrics loading...

The graphs shown below represent data from March 2017
Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Warhurst DC, Williams JE, 1996. ACP Broadsheet no 148. July 1996. Laboratory diagnosis of malaria. J Clin Pathol 49 : 533–538. [Google Scholar]
  2. Jonkman A, Chibwe RA, Khoromana CO, Liabunya UL, Chaponda ME, Kandiero GE, Molyneux ME, Taylor TE, 1995. Cost-saving through microscopy-based versus presumptive diagnosis of malaria in adult outpatients in Malawi. Bull World Health Organ 73 : 223–227. [Google Scholar]
  3. Milne LM, Kyi MS, Chiodini PL, Warhurst DC, 1994. Accuracy of routine laboratory diagnosis of malaria in the United Kingdom. J Clin Pathol 47 : 740–742. [Google Scholar]
  4. Roshanravan B, Kari E, Gilman RH, Cabrera L, Lee E, Metcalfe J, Calderon M, Lescano AG, Montenegro-James S, Calampa C, Vinetz JM, 2003. Endemic malaria in the Peruvian Amazon region of Iquitos. Am J Trop Med Hyg 69 : 45–52. [Google Scholar]
  5. Moody A, 2002. Rapid diagnostic tests for malaria parasites. Clin Microbiol Rev 15 : 66–78. [Google Scholar]
  6. Whitworth JA, Hewitt KA, 2005. Effect of malaria on HIV-1 progression and transmission. Lancet 365 : 196–197. [Google Scholar]
  7. Bharti AR, Chuquiyauri R, Brouwer KC, Stancil J, Lin J, Llanos-Cuentas A, Vinetz JM, 2006. Experimental infection of the neotropical malaria vector Anopheles darlingi by human patient-derived Plasmodium vivax in the Peruvian Amazon. Am J Trop Med Hyg 75 : 610–616. [Google Scholar]
  8. Snounou G, Viriyakosol S, Zhu XP, Jarra W, Pinheiro L, do Rosario VE, Thaithong S, Brown KN, 1993. High sensitivity of detection of human malaria parasites by the use of nested polymerase chain reaction. Mol Biochem Parasitol 61 : 315–320. [Google Scholar]
  9. Shi SR, Datar R, Liu C, Wu L, Zhang Z, Cote RJ, Taylor CR, 2004. DNA extraction from archival formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues: heat-induced retrieval in alkaline solution. Histochem Cell Biol 122 : 211–218. [Google Scholar]
  10. Gal S, Fidler C, Turner S, Lo YM, Roberts DJ, Wainscoat JS, 2001. Detection of Plasmodium falciparum DNA in plasma. Ann N Y Acad Sci 945 : 234–238. [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Received : 05 May 2007
  • Accepted : 05 Jun 2007

Most Cited This Month

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error