Neglected tropical diseases (NTD) are a group of 17 diseases transmitted by virus, protozoa, helminthes and bacteria. These illnesses are responsible for millions of deaths per year, affecting mainly the poorest populations in the world. The therapeutic drugs available are obsolete, toxic, have questionable efficacy and there are reports of resistance. Therefore, the discovery of new, safe, effective and affordable active molecules is urgently needed. Considering that, the main purpose of this mini-review is to show the current scenario concerning drug design for neglected disease in Brazil. NTD are a very broad topic. Thus, we selected four infections for discussion: Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, malaria and tuberculosis. According to CNPq (National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development) directories, there are many Brazilian groups studying these respective diseases. The papers published possess high quality and some of them, the most recent, are briefly discussed here. Medicinal chemistry approaches such as synthesis of novel series of molecules and biological activity evaluation, studies of structure-activity relationships (qualitative and quantitative), molecular modeling calculations and electrochemistry are some of the tools applied in the design of the compounds.
Keywords: Brazilian medicinal chemistry, Chagas disease, drug design, leishmaniasis, malaria, tuberculosis, neglected diseases.