United States: The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now looking at an NGO requirement for those who operate blood banks to use a new test that can detect malaria in the blood of some donors. 

FDA is therefore asking about the best way to achieve a goal of zero transfusion-related cases with no unnecessary people being stopped from donating blood. 

Cases of Malaria, according to WHO 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria is a significant public health concern worldwide, with an estimated 249 million cases and 608,000 deaths in 2016 alone. 

Malaria is not perceived as a big threat to the US blood supply, whereas about 28 million of the US population travel to the areas where malaria has been like the tropical regions of the planet each year, according to the FDA, as CNN Health reported. 

As the number of travelers increases and the earth gets warmer, experts have predicted that the disease could become more probable in the US, even when it is going with the best control strategies. 

FDA Considers Mandatory Malaria Test for Blood Donors. Credit | Getty Images
FDA Considers Mandatory Malaria Test for Blood Donors. Credit | Getty Images

CDC reveals the US history of malaria 

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while giving a presentation to the FDA’s advisory committee, the United States had approximately 65 thousand malaria cases. 

However, the situation changed when the country needed healthy service members to serve the country by fighting in World War II; thereby, public health institutions were challenged to find approaches to effecting rapid antimalarial treatments. 

Realizing that many future soldiers would be conducting training in malaria heavy areas in the South, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s government launched an assault against mosquitoes which proved to be effective to control the disease. 

After 1949, malaria wasn’t a significant public health issue anymore, according to the CDC, while the WHO declared that the US was completely free of mosquito-transmission diseases in 1970. 

With about 2,000 cases reported annually in the US per the CDC, the role of travel is a notable factor in causing the current number of cases in the country. 

FDA-approved screening of blood donors  

In March, the FDA approved the first test capable of closing donor blood to the verification of malaria. The Cobras malaria test, made by Roche, is used to detect parasites’ RNA and DNA when it comes to the organs, blood, or tissue of a donor. 

Receiving malaria transmission through blood transfusion is infrequent, yet such infection may cause severe signs whose far end may be fatal — evidence attests to this. 

The previous data from the CDC shows that exactly 93 cases were infected via blood chamber in the US from 1963 through 1999, and 10 men died because of that. 

According to another research, 13 malaria cases were linked to blood donations from 2000 through 2021 by the FDA. However, the study reported just seven cases which involved donors that satisfied the current criteria for blood donors imposed by the FDA. 

Jennifer Scharpf, associate director for policy in the agency’s Office of Blood Research and Review, said, “It’s complicated, and it doesn’t prevent all cases,” as CNN Health reported. 

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