Part of the book: New Insights into Toxicity and Drug Testing
Nearly 3.3 billion people globally are at risk of malaria, with 1.2 billion being at high risk. Children under 5 years of age and pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa still account for a higher percentage of malaria-related mortalities, despite recent reports of decline in malaria mortalities in Africa. Majority of these deaths are caused by Plasmodium falciparum, a lethal malaria parasite which has developed resistance to different classes of antimalarial drugs and is responsible for complicated, severe disease. To forestall the debilitating impact of the disease and provide safe and effective alternative therapies, medicinal plants have been explored as a source of new antimalarials. The isolation of quinine and artemisinin from plants present medicinal plants as a robust source of effective antimalarials. In this chapter, we review the different approaches employed in antimalarial discovery from plants, different classes of plant antimalarial compounds and their proposed mechanisms of action. Compounds that show potential for further development based on their high efficacy and selectivity are also highlighted. Common obstacles encountered in the process of antimalarial drug discovery from plant sources are identified and prospects for the identification of new, effective antimalarial components from plant sources are also discussed.
Part of the book: Current Topics in Malaria