A comparative study of blood smear, QBC and antigen detection for diagnosis of malaria

Indian J Pathol Microbiol. 2009 Apr-Jun;52(2):200-2. doi: 10.4103/0377-4929.48917.


Rapid diagnosis is prerequisite for effective treatment and reducing mortality and morbidity of malaria. This study was taken up to compare the efficacy of various methods available, i.e., thick and thin smear, quantitative buffy coat (QBC), plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase and aldolase in blood of patient. A total of 411 samples were collected from patients presenting with classic symptoms of malaria. For traditional microscopy; thick and thin smears were prepared and stained with Leishman's stain, taking thick smear as gold standard, thin smear had a sensitivity and specificity of 54.8% and 100%, respectively. QBC and antigen detection was done using commercially available kits; out of 411 samples, QBC and Malariagen were positive in 66 and 62 cases, with a sensitivity of 78% and 75%, respectively. Leishman's thick smear, although cost effective, is difficult to interpret for inexperienced microscopists; so if facilities are available, QBC should be used for routine diagnosis. In places where facilities are not available, rapid, simple and easy to interpret antigen detection test can be used despite low sensitivity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Protozoan / blood*
  • Blood / parasitology*
  • Fructose-Bisphosphate Aldolase / blood
  • Humans
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / blood
  • Malaria / diagnosis*
  • Plasmodium / cytology
  • Plasmodium / enzymology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Fructose-Bisphosphate Aldolase