New leads for drug repurposing against malaria

Drug Discov Today. 2019 Jan;24(1):263-271. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2018.08.006. Epub 2018 Aug 9.


Malaria is threatening a resurgence because of drug resistance against frontline artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). This necessitates the development of alternate routes for malaria treatment. Here, we present a refined focus on US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that could be repurposed. We analyzed growth inhibition data for Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium berghei in the context of 189 and 37 drugs (total of 226), respectively. Of these, our analyses revealed 18 currently used drugs that would be suitable for further development as potential antimalarials. Eight identified drugs share enzymatic targets between the human host and the malaria parasite, providing a platform for mechanistic and drug selectivity studies that could provide optimized leads as next-generation antimalarials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Approval
  • Drug Repositioning
  • Humans
  • Malaria / drug therapy*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / metabolism
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Antimalarials
  • Protozoan Proteins