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Nanoparticles for a new vaccine against shigellosis

A team of researchers from the departments of Microbiology and Pharmaceutical Technology of the Universidad of Navarra worked on the development of a new oral vaccine in order to treat bacterial dysentery, or shigellosis. This pathology causes 1.1 million deaths per year around the world; 61% of deaths occur among children under 5 years of age.

The disease, produced by the Shigella bacteria—a group of pathogens which cause bacterial dysentery—provoke a severe process of diarrhea. The path of infection is fecal-oral, with the peculiarity that a only a small infective dosage is sufficient to contract the illness. Thus, shigelosis affects 164.7 million persons around the world, 163.2 million in developing countries and 1.5 million in industrialized countries.

“Therefore”, noted Prof. Carlos Gamazo, coordinator of the project in the area of Microbiology of the University of Navarra, “the WHO has given priority to programs for the development of vaccines effective against this disease, since the implementation of preventive measures of a hygienic-sanitary type presents a great difficulty, and, on the other hand, we are observing a high prevalence of strains which are multi-resistant to antibiotics”.

In addition, the specialist confirmed that none of the existing vaccines have had important success in prior trials, and some of them, which are attenuated vaccines, cause symptoms of diarrhea and fever which limit their use in humans.

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