Background: Neglected tropical diseases are a group of infections caused by microorganisms
and viruses that affect mainly poor regions of the world. In addition, most
available drugs are associated with long periods of treatment and high toxicity which limits
the application and patient compliance. Investment in research and development is not seen as
an attractive deal by the pharmaceutical industry since the final product must ideally be cheap,
not returning the amount invested. Natural products have always been an important source for
bioactive compounds and are advantageous over synthetic compounds when considering the
unique structural variety and biological activities. On the other hand, isolation difficulties and
low yields, environmental impact and high cost usually limit their application as drug per se.
Objective: In this review, the use of natural products as prototypes for the semi-synthesis or
total synthesis, as well as natural products as promising hits is covered, specifically regarding
compounds with activities against trypanosomatids such as Trypanosoma spp. and Leishmania
Methods: Selected reports from literature with this approach were retrieved.
Conclusion: As summary, it can be concluded that natural products are an underestimated
source for designing novel agents against these parasites.