Lethal malaria: Marchiafava and Bignami were right

J Infect Dis. 2013 Jul 15;208(2):192-8. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jit116. Epub 2013 Apr 12.


One hundred and twenty years ago, the Italian malariologists Marchiafava and Bignami proposed that the fundamental pathological process underlying lethal falciparum malaria was microvascular obstruction. Since then, several alternative hypotheses have been proposed. These formed the basis for adjunctive interventions, which have either been ineffective or harmful. Recent evidence strongly suggests that Marchiafava and Bignami were right.

Keywords: P. falciparum; cerebral malaria; malaria; pathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimalarials / pharmacology
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Malaria / blood
  • Malaria / drug therapy
  • Malaria / parasitology
  • Malaria / pathology*
  • Microvessels / drug effects
  • Microvessels / pathology*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / physiology


  • Antimalarials