gut bacterial cocktail to address persistent infections: a futuristic(?) bacteriotherapy

· TGI - Pathogens


Pathological imbalances within the intestinal microbiota, termed dysbiosis, are often associated with chronic Clostridium difficile infections in humans.

Clostridium difficile is an anaerobic, Gram-positive bacterium that is the major cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and a significant healthcare-associated pathogen.

Clostridium difficile is a menace in hospitals and nursing homes, causing several thousands of deaths a year. Antibiotics can temporarily knock down the bacterium, but about 25% of infected people relapse, often multiple times, because the germ produces spores that hand sanitizers and hand washing don’t kill. Antibiotics can also backfire because they kill the gut’s normal microbial community, clearing the way for C. difficile to resettle.

Microbiologist Trevor Lawley of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, U.K., and his colleagues examined Clostridium infection in mice. Lawley and his colleagues first demonstrated that the germ’s spores do lead to recurrences of the infection after antibiotic treatment and that fecal therapy cures the problem.

Faeces after drying in the oven (in the lab)

Faeces after drying in the oven (in the lab) (Photo credit: Sustainable sanitation)

They then cultured the fecal material used to cure the mice, isolating 18 types of bacteria. Finally, they began to mix and match, infecting mice with different combinations of the bacteria. Of the various combinations tried, only one, a mix of six very different kinds of bacteria, cured the mice.

The study was reported online in PLoS Pathogens.

“It is an excellent, ground-breaking paper,” says Brendan Wren, a microbiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who was not involved with the mouse study. He is now working with Trawley to determine if they can find an appropriate bacterial cocktail that will cure humans. If they succeed, Wren says, someday “a simple suppository of the bacteria could prevent C. difficile reinfection and obviate the need for antibiotics, which may exacerbate the problem.”

Note: Some physicians have been successfully treating patients for C. difficile with ground-up, filtered fecal material inserted into the stomach with a tube, not via an enema.



TGI has no financial interest in sharing this work.


Comments RSS
  1. TGI

    Comments are well taken. Can we say ‘Vaccines’ also come under the same category of treatment?, a precursor to nosode.?


  2. Alan V. Schmukler

    The researchers have stumbled on what homeopaths call Isopathy, the use of the offending substance to cure some ill. The use of a diseased substance or tissue was also used by homeopaths and this was called a “nosode”. This method has been used by homeopaths for the last 200 years. I’m glad conventional medicine is finally getting around to it. The next step is to use a potentized version of the stool, which carries the energetic imprint only ( you don’t need the stool) and that works even better.


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