Purpose of review: Shigellosis, a major form of bacillary dysentery, is caused by infection with Shigella organisms. In poor countries, Shigella-caused dysentery is endemic and causes an estimated 163 million illness episodes annually and more than one million deaths. Although several strategies have been used to develop vaccines targeting shigellosis, none has been licensed for use outside China. Owing to the wide range of Shigella serotypes and subtypes, there is a need for a multivalent vaccine representing prevalent species and serotypes.
Recent findings: Vaccine development has been limited by the lack of a suitable animal model for vaccine testing. This review discusses the most advanced strategies for Shigella vaccine development including live attenuated, conjugate, broad spectrum, and proteosome-based vaccines and describes current animal models under study.
Summary: The greatest barrier to the use of vaccine against shigellosis in developing areas is poor immune responses to oral vaccines in children who have minimal maternal antibodies. Clinical studies of promising shigellosis vaccine candidates are urgently needed after confirmation of safety, immunogenicity, and protection in volunteer challenge models.