China is home to Artemisia annua, a herb that has been used in traditional medicine for almost 2,000 years. Its main active compound, artemisinin, has been found to be very effective as treatment against resistant malaria. Since 2001, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended to switch to an
artemisinin-based combination therapy in countries where conventional malaria drugs have failed. Much like this example, scientists in the pharmaceutical development field are also often inspired by natural products in their research programs. They hope to develop tomorrow’s medical break-throughs by discovering Nature’s secrets.