Naturally derived anti-HIV agents

Kaleab Asres, Ameha Seyoum, Ciddi Veeresham, Franz Bucar, Simon Gibbons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Citations (Scopus)


The urgent need for new anti‐HIV/AIDS drugs is a global concern. In addition to obvious economical and commercial hurdles, HIV/AIDS patients are faced with multifarious difficulties associated with the currently approved anti‐HIV drugs. Adverse effects, the emergence of drug resistance and the narrow spectrum of activity have limited the therapeutic usefulness of the various reverse transcriptase and protease inhibitors that are currently available on the market. This has driven many scientists to look for new anti‐retrovirals with better efficacy, safety and affordability. As has always been the case in the search for cures, natural sources offer great promise. Several natural products, mostly of plant origin have been shown to possess promising activities that could assist in the prevention and/or amelioration of the disease. Many of these anti‐HIV agents have other medicinal values as well, which afford them further prospective as novel leads for the development of new drugs that can deal with both the virus and the various disorders that characterize HIV/AIDS. The aim of this review is to report new discoveries and updates pertaining to anti‐HIV natural products. In the review anti‐HIV agents have been classified according to their chemical classes rather than their target in the HIV replicative cycle, which is the most frequently encountered approach. Perusal of the literature revealed that most of these promising naturally derived anti‐HIV compounds are flavonoids, coumarins, terpenoids, alkaloids, polyphenols, polysaccharides or proteins. It is our strong conviction that the results and experiences with many of the anti‐HIV natural products will inspire and motivate even more researchers to look for new leads from plants and other natural sources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-581
Number of pages25
JournalPhytotherapy Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2005

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