Next-Generation Antimalarial Drugs: Hybrid Molecules as a New Strategy in Drug Design.
Muregi, F. W.
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Malaria is a disease that affects nearly 40% of the global population, and chemotherapy remains the mainstay of its control strategy. The global malaria situation is increasingly being exacerbated by the emergence of drug resistance to most of the available antimalarials, necessitating search for novel drugs. A recent rational approach of antimalarial drug design characterized as "covalent bitherapy" involves linking two molecules with individual intrinsic activity into a single agent, thus packaging dual-activity into a single hybrid molecule. Current research in this field seems to endorse hybrid molecules as the next-generation antimalarial drugs. If the selective toxicity of hybrid prodrugs can be demonstrated in vivo with good bioavailability at the target site in the parasite, it would offer various advantages including dosage compliance, minimized toxicity, ability to design better drug combinations, and cheaper preclinical evaluation while achieving the ultimate object of delaying or circumventing the development of resistance. This review is focused on several hybrid molecules that have been developed, with particular emphasis on those deemed to have high potential for development for clinical use. Drug Dev Res 71: 20-32, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.