This disease, affecting 165 million people per year throughout the world, is produced by the Shigella bacteria and causes severe diarrhoea, mainly affecting children less than five years old.
Ms Camacho’s PhD was led by Carlos Gamazo and Juan Manuel Irache, the Departments of Microbiology and Pharmaceutical Technology joining forces to this end. In the opinion of these lecturers, the vaccine developed is a commitment to safety, as it avoids the use of live bacteria. “Cell fractions enriched with the main antigens of the bacteria are obtained. Also, the combination with nanoparticles of bioactive polymers enables their administration via the mucous membranes, including orally”.
This aspect is one of the most significant of the project, as “each year more than a thousand million vaccinations are carried out using syringes with needles, with the consequent health risks”, explained Ana Camacho. She pointed out that, “It is estimated that 5% of accidents are attributable to the use of syringes, causing more than twenty million infections, principally hepatitis B and C”. In this sense, “vaccination via the mucous membranes will boost safety and confidence in vaccine practice”.
The experts point out that “the vaccine against Shigella has been applied to mice with complete effectiveness against an experimental infection and, thanks to a subsidy recently granted by the Ministry of Health, this work will be continued with the goal of validating its applicability in humans”.
According to the research by Ms Camacho, cases of shigellosis are produced throughout the planet, but mostly in developing countries. The author stresses that “despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) giving priority to programmes for developing effective treatment against this disease, there has not existed an applicable vaccine to date”.
Farmakologia, Ikerketa-zentroak, Mikrobiologia, Osasuna, Unibertsitateak