Traditional medicines as a mechanism for driving research innovation in Africa

Department of Chemistry, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.
Malaria Journal (Impact Factor: 3.11). 03/2011; 10 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S9. DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-10-S1-S9
Source: PubMed


The outcomes from recent high profile deliberations concerning African health research and economic development all point towards the need for a mechanism to support health innovation on the continent. The mission of the African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI), is to promote and sustain African-led health product innovation to address African public health needs through the assembly of research networks, and building of capacity to support human and economic development. ANDI is widely viewed as the vehicle to implementing some of these recommendations. There is tremendous opportunity for Africa, to leverage the expertise in natural products and traditional medicines in support of this objective to kick-start innovation. This report highlights key recommendations that have emerged through expert forums convened by ANDI on the challenges, opportunities and prospects for investing in this important area of research.

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Available from: Ivan Addae-Mensah, Apr 22, 2014
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    • "Nature, and particularly plants are a potential source of new anti-malarial drugs, since they contain a quantity of metabolites with a great variety of structures and pharmacological activities. Traditional preparations (with the use of macerations, extracts, steam baths, concoctions, and decoctions from plant materials) have been the main source of treatment of malaria in Africa [5] and other continents where the disease is endemic [6,7]. Thus, with failing treatment regimens, many research groups in Africa (African indigenous research groups and their foreign collaborators) have resorted to plant sources in the quest to expand the anti-malarial chemotherapeutic arsenal [1,8,9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Malaria is currently a public health concern in many countries in the world due to various factors which are not yet under check. Drug discovery projects targeting malaria often resort to natural sources in the search for lead compounds. A survey of the literature has led to a summary of the major findings regarding plant-derived compounds from African flora, which have shown anti-malarial/antiplasmodial activities, tested by in vitro and in vivo assays. Considerations have been given to compounds with activities ranging from "very active" to "weakly active", leading to >500 chemical structures, mainly alkaloids, terpenoids, flavonoids, coumarins, phenolics, polyacetylates, xanthones, quinones, steroids and lignans. However, only the compounds that showed anti-malarial activity, from "very active" to "moderately active", are discussed in this review.
    Malaria Journal 03/2014; 13(1):81. DOI:10.1186/1475-2875-13-81 · 3.11 Impact Factor
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    • "In the quest to identify new anti-malarial chemotherapeutic agents, many research groups have resorted to plant sources [3,5,6]. This is because of the use of many of these plant materials in the treatment of malaria and fevers in African traditional medicine (ATM) [7]. There has been a general call for the use of natural products as drugs for malaria or as sources of inspiration for the development of novel anti-malarials [8-11] in order to possibly avoid problems related to drug resistance [12]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Traditional medicine caters for about 80% of the health care needs of many rural populations around the world, especially in developing countries. In addition, plant-derived compounds have played key roles in drug discovery. Malaria is currently a public health concern in many countries in the world due to factors such as chemotherapy faced by resistance, poor hygienic conditions, poorly managed vector control programmes and no approved vaccines. In this review, an attempt has been made to assess the value of African medicinal plants for drug discovery by discussing the anti-malarial virtue of the derived phytochemicals that have been tested by in vitro and in vivo assays. This survey was focused on pure compounds derived from African flora which have exhibited anti-malarial properties with activities ranging from "very active" to "weakly active". However, only the compounds which showed anti-malarial activities from "very active" to "moderately active" are discussed in this review. The activity of 278 compounds, mainly alkaloids, terpenoids, flavonoids, coumarines, phenolics, polyacetylates, xanthones, quinones, steroids, and lignans have been discussed. The first part of this review series covers the activity of 171 compounds belonging to the alkaloid and terpenoid classes.. Data available in the literature indicated that African flora hold an enormous potential for the development of phytomedicines for malaria.
    Malaria Journal 12/2013; 12(1):449. DOI:10.1186/1475-2875-12-449 · 3.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Natural product-based drug discovery has been deemphasized by the pharmaceutical industry. This situation is discordant with the fact that most people in developing countries rely on traditional medicines derived from local biodiversity for healthcare. Despite economic growth in the past 10 years, Africa remains plagued by parasitic infections, out of reach of eradication. Limited regional funding for drug discovery complicates the situation. Novel models are needed to bring sustainability to local drug discovery programs. This Opinion describes an innovative partnership that promotes local leadership to harness a recombinant yeast-based assay to screen for novel anthelmintic candidates in collections of African natural products. Implementation of this strategy in biodiversity-rich but resource-constrained settings can help build sustainable local capacity for drug discovery.
    Trends in Parasitology 03/2012; 28(5):176-81. DOI:10.1016/ · 6.20 Impact Factor
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