A pre-clinical experiment was conducted prior to the clinical trial in order to confirm the feasibility of harvesting Plasmodium parasites using apheresis. The P. falciparum NF54 clone was used in these experiments [15] due to limited availability of P. vivax parasites. Plasmodium. falciparum infected red blood cells (17.6 ml; 16 ml blood with 0.1% asexual parasitaemia and 1.67 ml blood with 0.01% gametocytaemia) were added to 450 ml of fresh venous whole blood and subjected to ex vivo apheresis. Samples were collected from the 1%, 2%, 3%, 5% and 7% haematocrit (HCT) layers as determined by visualizing the colour saturation of the apheresis product. An automated haematology analyser (Sysmex XN-3000; Sysmex UK) was used retrospectively to confirm the HCT of samples collected during apheresis. Presence of parasites was assessed in each layer by 18S qPCR [16] and microscopy.

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