Antimalarials: Molecular Drug Targets And Mechanism of Action.
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Despite a reduction in the global burden of malaria, the disease remains responsible for 214 million cases and 438,000 deaths annually with 88% of the mortality occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria control largely depends on effective chemotherapy. However, the historic and current emergence and spread of multi-drug resistant parasite strains provides significant challenges to malaria control and consequently, reduction of malaria-associated morbidity and mortality. Combating parasite drug resistance requires pharmacological compounds that target both known and novel metabolic pathways that are crucial for parasite survival. In addition, the identification of novel therapeutic agents that target distinct molecular pathways, apart from those of the conventional antimalarials, offers an approach for minimizing drug resistance. This review summarizes current anti-malarial approaches and strategies, therapeutic efficacy for conventional and non-conventional antimalarials, parasitic targets, and the mechanisms responsible for the development of drug resistance.