Artemisinin and its derivatives in treating helminthic infections beyond schistosomiasis

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The World Health Organization estimated that more than 1.5 billion people are infected with soil-transmitted helminths globally, and foodborne trematodiases in humans cause ˜2 million life-years lost to disability and death worldwide every year. Investment in prevention, treatment, and awareness of helminth infections and discovery of new, safe, effective, and affordable anti-helminth drugs are urgently needed. Artemisinin (ART) and its derivatives have been widely used to treat malaria and other protozoan infections; they also possess activities against helminths. So far, many papers on ART and its derivatives against schistosomal infections have been reported and reviewed. This review attempts to summarize recent advances in the uses of ART and its derivatives to treat infections of helminth parasites other than Schistosoma spp. in both humans and animals, including nematodes (Toxocara canis, Trichinella spiralis, Haemonchus contortus, Meloidogyne spp., Globodera rostochiensis, and Xiphinema index), cestodes (Echinococcus spp. and Taenia crassiceps), trematodes (Echinostoma spp., Fasciola spp., Clonorchis sinensis, Opisthorchis viverrini, Paragonimus westermani, Heterophyes heterophyes, and Paramphistomum microbothrium), and monogenea parasites (Dactylogyrus and Gyrodactylus). We concluded that ART and its derivatives are potentially effective drugs for treating various helminthic diseases of public health significance.

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