La enfermedad

Shigellosis, or bacillary dysentery, is a disease with symptoms that may range from mild enteric infection (self-limited diarrhoea) to very severe symptoms (high fever, dysentery, intestinal perforation, and renal failure). It is caused by four species of bacteria, Shigella dysenteriae, Shigella flexneri Shigella boydii and Shigella sonnei. The bacteria are transmitted by the faecal-oral route, directly person to person or through contaminated food or water. Very small quantities of bacteria are needed to acquire the disease, which facilitates its transmission.


Worldwide shigellosis cases are estimated at 164.7 millions. Approximately 98% of the cases occur in developing countries and 2% in industrialized countries, causing close to 600 thousand deaths a year. Shigellosis is one of the main causes of child mortality in developing countries. 69% of the deaths occur in children under the age of 5. 

Treatment and vaccination

Antibiotic treatment and fluid replacement is effective. No vaccine is available. Preventive measures focus on good food hygiene, hand-washing, and the proper treatment of waste. Some of the treatment and prevention measures are difficult to implement in developing countries. For this reason, and given the high risk of producing large epidemics, it has been a priority to work on the development of effective vaccines.

Lines of research

This project pursues the development of a safe and effective vaccine against Shigella spp. The objective is to design a vaccine using a-cellular extracts of the bacterium, free or encapsulated in nanoparticles.

The formulation of the vaccine will be adequate for a single intradermal (patches) or mucous membranes (oral or nasal) administration that should be capable of inducing a protective immune response in humans to Shigella spp. 

Research Team

  • Carlos Gamazo (PhD) Carlos Gamazo (PhD)
    Principal Investigator
    Telephone: (+34) 948 42 56 00 Extension: Ext 806251
    Curriculum Vitae (.pdf)
  • Juan Manuel Irache (PhD) Juan Manuel Irache (PhD)
    Principal Investigator
    Telephone: (+34) 948 42 56 00 Extension: Ext 806478 Email:
  • Ana Camacho (PhD) Ana Camacho (PhD)
    Telephone: (+34) 948 42 56 00 Extension: Ext 806205
    Curriculum Vitae (.pdf)


ANTIGEN DELIVERY SYSTEMS AS ORAL ADJUVANTS. Gamazo, C; Irache, J.M; Giese. M. (ed.), Molecular Vaccines Volume 2, Chapter 38. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-00978-0_12, © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014.


Title of the book: MUCOSAL DELIVERY OF BIOPHARMACEUTICALS. Juan M. Irache, Ana I. Camacho, Carlos Gamazo. Editorial: Springer, ISBN 978-1-4614-9523-9. 2013


Gamazo, C; Irache, J.M. Edited by M J Alonso and N S. Csaba. Chapter2.3. pp. 91-114. RSC Publishing. Nanostructured Biomaterials for Overcoming Biological Barriers. Chemistry Royal Society. 2012. ISBN: 978-1-84973-363-2. DOI:10.1039/9781849735292-00091


Name of the Journal: Expert reviews of vaccines
Authors: Camacho AI, Irache JM, Gamazo C.
Title: Recent progress towards development of a Shigella vaccine.
Expert Rev Vaccines. 2013 Jan; 12(1):43-55.


Name of the Journal: Vaccine
Authors: Camacho AI, Irache JM, de Souza J, Sánchez-Gomez S, Gamazo C
Title: Nanoparticle-based vaccine for mucosal protection against Shigella flexneri in mice.
Vaccine 2013 Jul 11; 31(32):3288-94.


Name of the Journal: Methods
Authors: Camacho AI, Souza-Rebouças J, Irache JM, Gamazo C.
Title: Towards a non-living vaccine against Shigella flexneri: from the inactivation procedure to protection studies.
Methods. 2013 May 1; 60(3):264-8


Name of the Journal:  Vaccine
Authors: Camacho AI, de Souza J, Sánchez-Gómez S, Pardo-Ros M, Irache JM, Gamazo C.
Title: Mucosal immunization with Shigella flexneri outer membrane vesicles induces protection in mice.
Vaccine. 2011 Oct 26; 29(46):8222-9.