Approximately 40 % of the world population live in areas with the risk of malaria. Each year, 300–500 million people suffer from acute malaria, and 0.5–2.5 million die from the disease. Although malaria has been widely eradicated in many parts of the world, the global number of cases continues to rise. The most important reason for this alarming situation is the rapid spread of malaria parasites that are resistant to antimalarial drugs, especially chloroquine, which is by far the most frequently used. The development of new antimalarial drugs has been neglected since the 1970s owing to the end colonialism, changes in the areas of military engagement, and the restricted market potential. Only in recent years, in part supported by public funding programs, has interest in the development of antimalarial drugs been renewed. New data available from the recently sequenced genome of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and the application of methods of modern drug design promise to bring significant development in the fight against this disease.