Comparison of capillary and venous blood for malaria detection using two PCR-based assays in febrile patients in Sierra Leone

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Rapid and sensitive diagnostics are critical tools for clinical case management and public health control efforts. Both capillary and venous blood are currently used for malaria detection and while diagnostic technologies may not be equally sensitive with both materials, the published data on this subject are scarce and not conclusive.


Paired clinical samples of venous and capillary blood from 141 febrile individuals in Bo, Sierra Leone, were obtained between January and May 2019 and tested for the presence of Plasmodium parasites using two multiplexed PCR assays: the FilmArray-based Global Fever Panel (GFP) and the TaqMan-based Malaria Multiplex Sample Ready (MMSR) assay.


No significant differences in Plasmodium parasite detection between capillary and venous blood for both assays were observed. The GFP assay was more sensitive than MMSR for all markers that could be compared (Plasmodium spp. and Plasmodium falciparum) in both venous and capillary blood.


No difference was found in malaria detection between venous and capillary blood using two different PCR-based detection assays. This data gives support for use of capillary blood, a material which can be obtained easier by less invasive methods, for PCR-based malaria diagnostics, independent of the platform.

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© 2021 BioMed Central Ltd unless otherwise stated. Part of Springer Nature. This article first appeared in Malaria Journal volume 20, Article number: 133 (2021).

DOI: 10.1186/s12936-021-03644-y