Amazonian plant natural products: Perspectives for discovery of new antimalarial drug leads

Adrian Martin Pohlit, Renata Braga Souza Lima, Gina Frausin, Luiz Francisco Rocha E Silva, Stefanie Costa Pinto Lopes, Carolina Borsoi Moraes, Pedro Cravo, Marcus Vinícius Guimarães Lacerda, André Machado Siqueira, Lucio H. Freitas, Fabio Trindade Maranhão Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
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Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax malaria parasites are now resistant, or showing signs of resistance, to most drugs used in therapy. Novel chemical entities that exhibit new mechanisms of antiplasmodial action are needed. New antimalarials that block transmission of Plasmodium spp. from humans to Anopheles mosquito vectors are key to malaria eradication efforts. Although P. vivax causes a considerable number of malaria cases, its importance has for long been neglected. Vivax malaria can cause severe manifestations and death; hence there is a need for P. vivax-directed research. Plants used in traditional medicine, namely Artemisia annua and Cinchona spp. are the sources of the antimalarial natural products artemisinin and quinine, respectively. Based on these compounds, semi-synthetic artemisinin-derivatives and synthetic quinoline antimalarials have been developed and are the most important drugs in the current therapeutic arsenal for combating malaria. In the Amazon region, where P. vivax predominates, there is a local tradition of using plant-derived preparations to treat malaria. Here, we review the current P. falciparum and P. vivax drug-sensitivity assays, focusing on challenges and perspectives of drug discovery for P. vivax, including tests against hypnozoites. We also present the latest findings of our group and others on the antiplasmodial and antimalarial chemical components from Amazonian plants that may be potential drug leads against malaria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9219-9240
Number of pages22
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013


  • Amazonian plants
  • Antimalarials
  • Drug discovery
  • Herbal remedy
  • Plasmodium spp.


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