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Antimalarial drugs are used for the treatment and prevention of malaria infection. A drug directed against malaria. Most antimalarial drugs target the erythrocytic stage of malaria infection, which is the phase of infection that causes symptomatic illness. The extent of preerythrocytic (hepatic stage) activity for most antimalarial drugs is not well characterized.
The original antimalarial agent was quinine which took its name from the Peruvian Indian word "kina" meaning "bark of the tree." A large and complex molecule, quinine is the most important alkaloid found in cinchona bark. Until World War I, it was the only effective treatment for malaria.