Malaria, which is caused by multiplication of the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum in erythrocytes, is a major health problem in many southern countries. There is an urgent need to discover new antimalarials, due to the spread of chloroquinine resistance and the limited number of available drugs. Among marine invertebrates, Porifera (sponges) are potential source of novel bioactive compounds to provide future drugs against malaria, cancer and a range of viral diseases. A number of sponge-derived antimalarials have been discovered during the last decade. The compounds are mostly nitrogen containing ones (proteins, pyridines, tyrosine-based metabolites, alkaloids, indoles and amides) and also non-nitrogenous compounds (terpenes, polyketides and polysaccharides).
Key words: Malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, porifera, marine sponges, bioactive compounds, antimalarial compounds.
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