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Slow pace of antileishmanial drug development

  • Awanish Kumar (a1), Satish Chandra Pandey (a2) and Mukesh Samant (a2)


The protozoan parasite Leishmania is endemic in large parts of the world which causes leishmaniasis. Its visceral form is fatal if not treated and is caused mostly by Leishmania donovani, Leishmania infantum and Leishmania chagasi. Given the difficulties linked to vector (sandfly) control and the lack of an effective vaccine, the control of leishmaniasis relies mostly on chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the prevalence of parasites becoming resistant to the first-line drug pentavalent antimony (SbV) is increasing worldwide. Few alternative drugs are available that includes amphotericin B, pentamidine and miltefosine (oral). Already, decreases in efficacy, resistance and toxicity have been noted against these drugs. Dry antileishmanial pipeline further indicates the slow pace of drug discovery in this field where resistance as a major barrier. Full understanding of the genetic and molecular basis of the parasite is lagging. Since leishmaniasis is a neglected disease and occurs predominantly in the developing world largely, therefore, it is unaddressed. The pharma industry argues that development of the new drug is too costly and risky to invest in low return neglected diseases is very high. Research is also needed to identify new and effective drug targets. The lack of drug research and development for neglected diseases will require some new strategies. We have discussed the various cause of slow pace of antileishmanial drug discovery in this review to pay attention of researchers and also take the public and private initiative to make the process fast for new antileishmanial drug development.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Mukesh Samant, E-mail:


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Slow pace of antileishmanial drug development

  • Awanish Kumar (a1), Satish Chandra Pandey (a2) and Mukesh Samant (a2)


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