Perspective - Asian Journal of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences (2023) Volume 13, Issue 101
Unveiling Nature's Defenders: Antiparasitic Drug Discovery in Parasitology
Enaam Al Momany *
Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
- *Corresponding Author:
- Enaam Al Momany
Department of Pharmacoepidemiology
Utrecht, the Netherlands
Received:31-Aug -2023, Manuscript No. AABPS-23-114193; Editor assigned: 05-Sep-2023, PreQC No. AABPS-23-114193 (PQ); Reviewed:19-Sep-2023, QC No. AABPS-23-114193; Revised:25-Sep-2023, Manuscript No. AABPS-23-114193 (R); Published: 30-Sep-2023, DOI:10.35841/ 13.101.199
Citation: Al Momany E. Unveiling nature's defenders: Antiparasitic drug discovery in parasitology. Asian J Biomed Pharmaceut Sci. 2023;13(101):199
Parasitic infections represent a significant global health challenge, affecting billions of people and countless animals worldwide. From the devastating impact of malaria to the insidious effects of neglected tropical diseases, parasitic organisms have long posed a threat to human and animal well-being. In the battle against these microscopic adversaries, the development of antiparasitic drugs has emerged as a critical field of study within parasitology. This article explores the fascinating world of antiparasitic drug discovery, shedding light on the innovative approaches and promising breakthroughs that offer hope in the fight against parasitic diseases. Parasitic infections are responsible for a substantial burden of disease, particularly in regions with limited access to healthcare resources. Malaria alone claims hundreds of thousands of lives each year, while other parasites cause conditions such as schistosomiasis, Chagas disease, and leishmaniasis, to name just a few. The rise of drug resistance in parasites further complicates treatment efforts, necessitating a continuous quest for new and more effective antiparasitic agents .
Nature remains a rich source of potential antiparasitic compounds. Researchers scour rainforests, oceans, and diverse ecosystems for plants, marine organisms, and microorganisms that produce molecules with antiparasitic properties. Promising compounds include artemisinin from sweet wormwood for malaria and ivermectin from Streptomyces avermitilis for various parasitic worms. Medicinal chemists design and synthesize novel molecules based on known antiparasitic compounds. Through rational drug design and high-throughput screening, they create analogs and derivatives with improved efficacy, reduced toxicity, and enhanced pharmacokinetic properties. Some existing drugs designed for other purposes exhibit antiparasitic activity. Researchers explore the potential of repurposing these drugs, such as using anti-malarial drugs for cancer treatment or exploring the antiparasitic properties of antibiotics .
By elucidating the molecular biology and biochemistry of parasites, scientists identify specific molecular targets critical for parasite survival. These targets become the focus of drug development efforts, with the goal of creating selective inhibitors. While not strictly drugs, vaccines are a crucial tool in preventing parasitic infections. Researchers work to develop vaccines that target specific parasitic pathogens, such as the ongoing efforts to create a malaria vaccine .
Promising antiparasitic drug candidates
KAF156: A novel antimalarial compound, KAF156, has shown potential against both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant strains of the malaria parasite. It works by inhibiting a key protein involved in parasite proliferation. Fexinidazole: Approved for the treatment of sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis), fexinidazole is an example of repurposing an existing drug (originally developed for a bacterial infection) for a parasitic disease. Ozoralizumab: This experimental drug targets the liver stage of malaria parasites and has demonstrated strong potential in preclinical studies. SCYX-7158: Designed to treat Chagas disease, SCYX-7158 is a promising compound that has shown efficacy in clinical trials .
Parasites can quickly develop resistance to antiparasitic drugs, rendering previously effective treatments ineffective. Parasites often have complex life cycles, making it challenging to target them at various stages of development. Many parasitic diseases predominantly affect impoverished regions, resulting in limited funding for research and drug development efforts.Balancing drug efficacy with safety is a delicate challenge, as antiparasitic drugs must kill parasites without harming the host. Antiparasitic drug discovery is a field of paramount importance in the on-going battle against parasitic infections. Researchers worldwide are driven by the urgent need to develop effective, safe, and accessible treatments for diseases that disproportionately affect vulnerable populations. Through innovative approaches, collaboration, and dedication, the field of parasitology continues to make strides toward uncovering new antiparasitic agents, offering hope for a future where these insidious parasites are brought under control and global health is improvedbbbbvvvvbbvvvvvvv .
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