Antiparasitics from Microorganisms
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Parasitic protozoa and helminth worms are major public health problems in many countries of the world, particularly in the tropical regions. Most of these infections are considered neglected tropical diseases by the World Health Organization and are responsible for significant mortality and morbidity in socioeconomically under-developed populations. Malaria, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, toxoplasmosis, amoebic dysentery, trypanosomiasis, Chagas’ disease and soil-transmitted helminthiasis are devastating diseases.
Here we review antiparasitic drugs and potential drug candidates derived from microorganisms. Avermectins, ivermectin, paromomycin and amphotericin B are microbial metabolites or semi-synthetic derivatives which remain the mainstay of antiparasitic chemotherapy. Among several species of bacteria and fungi, Streptomyces spp. are the most prolific producer of antiparasitic agents. Many microbially derived bioactive compounds have progressed in various phases of drug discovery and development phases and are expected to strengthen our current arsenal against parasitic diseases. The untapped microbial resources, i.e. marine, endophytic, endolichenic and extremophilic microbes, could afford novel leads for drug development against parasitic infections. In coming years, microbial bioprospecting, metagenomics, drug repurposing, genome mining, combinatorial chemistry supported by public–private partnerships and multidisciplinary collaborations are poised to accelerate the antiparasitic drug development process. Emphasis is also warranted on developing and utilizing high-throughput screening assays and novel target-based drug discovery approaches.
KeywordsParasitic protozoa Helminth parasites Cestodes Trematodes Nematodes Microorganisms Avermectins Streptomyces Ivermectin Drug development
NS and KS are thankful to the Chancellor, Eternal University, Baru Sahib, Himachal Pradesh, for the constant support and infrastructural facilities.
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