Evaluation of quantitative buffy coat (QBC) assay and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for diagnosis of malaria

J Commun Dis. 2003 Sep;35(3):170-81.


A prospective study was undertaken to compare the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and Quantitative Buffy Coat (QBC) assay with conventional Giemsa technique for diagnosis of malaria. A total of 104 samples were taken for the purpose. They comprised of fever cases suggestive of malaria (n=74) and control group, fever cases other than malaria (n=30). Peripheral blood smears were prepared by Giemsa staining and QBC assay was performed as per standard protocol. From the stored blood samples, parasite DNA was extracted and PCR was performed using P. falciparum and P. vivax specific sets of primers. The QBC assay was 100% in agreement with the Giemsa stain. Specificity of the PCR detection of P. falciparum parasites was 100%. However, sensitivity for detection of P. falciparum and P. vivax by PCR was 64.28% and 82.35% respectively. In mixed cases of malaria (n=2), PCR results were in 100% agreement with that of Giemsa. The lower sensitivity of PCR for P. falciparum could probably be due to inaccessibility of target DNA, presence of PCR inhibitors in samples and parasite strain variations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Azure Stains
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Falciparum / blood
  • Malaria, Falciparum / diagnosis*
  • Malaria, Vivax / blood
  • Malaria, Vivax / diagnosis*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics
  • Plasmodium vivax / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Azure Stains