African Journal of Biotechnology

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Plant natural products research in tuberculosis drug discovery and development: A situation report with focus on Nigerian biodiversity

NN Ibekwe, SJ Ameh


Tuberculosis (TB) remains a disease of global importance with approximately two million deaths annually worldwide. Effective treatment of TB has been hampered by the emergence of drug resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The global resurgence of TB and the development of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), call for the development of new anti-tuberculosis drugs to combat this disease. Plant natural products have a proven global history of treating diseases and ailments. This review aims to provide a situation report of on-going global efforts to discover and develop anti-TB drugs from plants, including plants found within Nigeria’s rich flora. For two decades, studies on different families and genera of the plant kingdom have shown the great potential of plants as antimycobacterial agents. These motifs, including those from within Nigeria’s flora, are discussed. Chemists, biochemists and molecular biologists have also employed technological developments in separation methods, hyphenated techniques, high throughput assays and microarray analysis, to drive the drug discovery process. Nigeria, and indeed, Africa, needs to look inwards to solve the burden of tuberculosis, by tapping on its rich biodiversity, which the continent is endowed with. There is need for the government to be committed and actively fund anti-tuberculosis research.

Keywords: Plant natural product, antimycobacterial activity, drug discovery, drug development, Nigerian flora, biodiversity.

African Journal of Biotechnology, Vol 13(23) 2307-2320
AJOL African Journals Online