Advances in new analytical techniques, genome mining and engineering, as well as microbial culturing systems are outlined as three major areas of development that are already making great impacts and are likely to shape the future of natural product drug discovery. The significant recent developments in these areas are revitalizing natural product research, and offering solutions for some of the traditional challenges for natural product-based drug discovery related to screening, isolation, characterization, and optimization. The technological and scientific advances highlighted have the potential to provide a new push for natural product-based drug discovery in established high-impact areas such as infectious diseases and cancer. Moreover, emerging opportunities with a high potential for application of natural product-derived therapeutics are outlined, including the development of botanical preparations containing complex mixtures of compounds, and microbiota-targeting natural product preparations. Based on the advances and opportunities summarized, the authors overall present a vision why natural products will continue to make major contributions in the development of new drugs for the betterment of human health.
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