Artemisinins are sesquiterpene lactones with a peroxide moiety that are isolated from the herb Artemisia annua. It has been used for centuries for the treatment of fever and chills, and has been recently approved for the treatment of malaria due to its endoperoxidase properties. Progressively, research has found that artemisinins displayed multiple pharmacological actions against inflammation, viral infections, and cell and tumour proliferation, making them effective against diseases. Moreover, it has displayed a relatively safe toxicity profile.
Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest causative agent of malaria, has high prevalence in Nigeria. Drug resistance causing failure of previously effective drugs has compromised anti-malarial treatment. On this basis, there is need for a proactive surveillance for resistance markers to the currently recommended artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), for early detection of resistance before it become widespread.
Transformation of Artemisia sp. with rol ABC genes can lead to the increased production of artemisinin, which will help to meet the increasing demand of artemisinin because of its diverse pharmacological and anti-malarial importance.