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Impactful malaria science, and the trailblazers leading the fight. A podcast from the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute.

May 6, 2022

Patients with low platelet count might benefit most from whole blood transfusion for severe malaria anaemia; should be prioritised in clinical management of the disease.


The clinical presentations of malaria can be severe, particularly severe malaria anaemia: a condition of the blood which reduces the amount of hemoglobin in the body or oxygen delivered to the vital organs.

Whole blood transfusion is often used to treat it – but does it work?

In a review of clinical records in Zambia, whole blood transfusion reduced the odds of death among patients with anaemia by 35%. That’s one life saved for every 14 transfusions.

But it was most effective among anemic patients with another condition: thrombocytopenia, or low platelet count. Here, one life was saved for every 5 transfusions.

More research is needed. Yet patients with low platelet count benefit most from blood transfusions and should be prioritised in clinical management of the disease.


Whole blood transfusion for severe malarial anemia in a high Plasmodium falciparum transmission setting

About The Podcast

The Johns Hopkins Malaria Minute podcast is produced by the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute to highlight impactful malaria research and to share it with the global community.