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Towards harmonization of microscopy methods for malaria clinical research studies

  • Dhorda, Mehul1, 2, 3
  • Ba, El Hadji4
  • Kevin Baird, J.2, 5
  • Barnwell, John6
  • Bell, David7
  • Carter, Jane Y.8
  • Dondorp, Arjen2, 3
  • Ekawati, Lenny5
  • Gatton, Michelle9
  • González, Iveth10
  • Guérin, Philippe J.2, 11
  • Incardona, Sandra12
  • Lilley, Ken13
  • Menard, Didier14
  • Nosten, François3, 15
  • Obare, Peter16
  • Ogutu, Bernhards16
  • Olliaro, Piero L.2
  • Price, Ric N.2, 3, 11, 17
  • Proux, Stéphane3, 15
  • And 4 more
  • 1 WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network, 60th Anniversary Chalermprakhiat Building 3rd Floor, 420/6 Ratchawithi Road, Ratchathewi, Bangkok, 10400, Thailand , Bangkok (Thailand)
  • 2 University of Oxford, Oxford, UK , Oxford (United Kingdom)
  • 3 Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand , Bangkok (Thailand)
  • 4 UMR 257 IRD VITROME, Campus IRD-UCAD, Dakar, Senegal , Dakar (Senegal)
  • 5 Eijkman-Oxford Clinical Research Unit, Jakarta, Indonesia , Jakarta (Indonesia)
  • 6 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA , Atlanta (United States)
  • 7 Independent consultant, Issaquah, WA, USA , Issaquah (United States)
  • 8 Amref Health Africa Headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya , Nairobi (Kenya)
  • 9 Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia , Brisbane (Australia)
  • 10 Terre des Hommes Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland , Geneva (Switzerland)
  • 11 WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network, Oxford, UK , Oxford (United Kingdom)
  • 12 FIND, Geneva, Switzerland , Geneva (Switzerland)
  • 13 Australian Defence Force Malaria and Infectious Disease Institute, Enoggera, Australia , Enoggera (Australia)
  • 14 Institut Pasteur du Cambodge, Phnom Penh, Cambodia , Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
  • 15 Shoklo Malaria Research Unit, Mae Sot, Thailand , Mae Sot (Thailand)
  • 16 Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kisumu, Kenya , Kisumu (Kenya)
  • 17 Global Health Division, Menzies School of Health Research and Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT, Australia , Darwin (Australia)
  • 18 University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK , St Andrews (United Kingdom)
  • 19 Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), a Co-sponsored Programme of UNICEF, UNDP, the World Bank and WHO, Geneva, Switzerland , Geneva (Switzerland)
Published Article
Malaria Journal
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Sep 04, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12936-020-03352-z
Springer Nature


Microscopy performed on stained films of peripheral blood for detection, identification and quantification of malaria parasites is an essential reference standard for clinical trials of drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tests for malaria. The value of data from such research is greatly enhanced if this reference standard is consistent across time and geography. Adherence to common standards and practices is a prerequisite to achieve this. The rationale for proposed research standards and procedures for the preparation, staining and microscopic examination of blood films for malaria parasites is presented here with the aim of improving the consistency and reliability of malaria microscopy performed in such studies. These standards constitute the core of a quality management system for clinical research studies employing microscopy as a reference standard. They can be used as the basis for the design of training and proficiency testing programmes as well as for procedures and quality assurance of malaria microscopy in clinical research.

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