Authors: Martha Powell, Future Science Group
Globally, shigella is reported to be the third largest cause of diarrheal mortality in the under-fives. In 2013 Shigella infections caused approximately 34,400 deaths in this demographic. Despite the public health burden of Shigella species, not only in young children but also in deployed soldiers and travelers, there is no licensed vaccine against these bacteria.
Ultimately universal access to clean water and sanitation will be the solution to reduce the burden of shigellosis. In the meantime a low-cost, universal vaccine could help manage this burden. It’s thought a vaccine that covers the most commonly detected strains (S. flexneri 2a, 3a, 6, and S. sonnei) or that uses conserved antigens across the species is the most likely strategy to be effective. Here, we take a look at some of the vaccines that have made it to clinical development and some of the challenges still facing this diarrheal disease.