Potential of marine natural products against drug-resistant fungal, viral, and parasitic infections

Posted by
Ronald J. Quinn
on 12 09 2019

Antibiotics have revolutionised medicine in many aspects, and their discovery is considered a turning point in human history. However, the most serious consequence of the use of antibiotics is the concomitant development of resistance against them. The marine environment has proven to be a very rich source of diverse natural products with signifi cant antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic, antitumour, anti-infl ammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory activities. Many marine natural products (MNPs)—for example, neoechinulin B—have been found to be promising drug candidates to alleviate the mortality and morbidity rates caused by drug-resistant infections, and several MNP-based anti-infectives have already entered phase 1, 2, and 3 clinical trials, with six approved for usage by the US Food and Drug Administration and one by the EU. In this Review, we discuss the diversity of marine natural products that have shown in-vivo effi cacy or in-vitro potential against drug-resistant infections of fungal, viral, and parasitic origin, and describe their mechanism of action. We highlight the drug-like physicochemical properties of the reported natural products that have bioactivity against drug-resistant pathogens in order to assess their drug potential. Difficulty in isolation and purifi cation procedures, toxicity associated with the active compound, ecological impacts on natural environment, and insuffi cient investments by pharmaceutical companies are some of the clear reasons behind market failures and a poor pipeline of MNPs available to date. However, the diverse abundance of natural products in the marine environment could serve as a ray of light for the therapy of drug-resistant infections. Development of resistance-resistant antibiotics could be achieved via the coordinated networking of clinicians, microbiologists, natural product chemists, and pharmacologists together with pharmaceutical venture capitalist companies.

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