Journal Home Online First Current Issue Archive For Authors Journal Information 中文版

Frontiers of Medicine >> 2022, Volume 16, Issue 1 doi: 10.1007/s11684-021-0898-6

Discovery and repurposing of artemisinin

Available online: 2022-03-11

Next Previous


Malaria is an ancient infectious disease that threatens millions of lives globally even today. The discovery of artemisinin, inspired by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), has brought in a paradigm shift and been recognized as the “best hope for the treatment of malaria” by World Health Organization. With its high potency and low toxicity, the wide use of artemisinin effectively treats the otherwise drug-resistant parasites and helps many countries, including China, to eventually eradicate malaria. Here, we will first review the initial discovery of artemisinin, an extraordinary journey that was in stark contrast with many drugs in western medicine. We will then discuss how artemisinin and its derivatives could be repurposed to treat cancer, inflammation, immunoregulation-related diseases, and COVID-19. Finally, we will discuss the implications of the “artemisinin story” and how that can better guide the development of TCM today. We believe that artemisinin is just a starting point and TCM will play an even bigger role in healthcare in the 21st century.

Related Research