HealthDay News — The incidence of transfusion-transmitted malaria can be reduced with use of a whole blood pathogen-reduction system, according to a study published in the April 23 issue of The Lancet.

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 two 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.

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=0.039). 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.

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

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