Researchers found the best cocktail of bacteria to treat Clostridium difficile infection
Researchers found a combination of six bacterial species to eradicate infection with Clostridium difficile. Clostridium difficile infection is difficult to treat and also a contributing factor to patient’s death. Clostridium difficile is an anaerobic gram positive bacterium causing serious infections in hospitalized patients with low immunity. Clostridium difficile infection occurs when bacterial intestinal flora is destroyed by antibiotics. When intestinal bacterial flora is destroyed, bacteria multiply in the gut excessively.
Symptoms of C. difficile infection are diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, high fever and can even lead to death of the patient. C.difficile infection is called pseudomembranous colitis and is a frequent complication especially in hospitals. This infection often begins with flu-like symptoms and can sometimes mimic clinical manifestations of inflammatory bowel disease. Most feared complication of infection with C.difficile is toxic megacolon. Although there several anaerobic agents ( metronidazole, vancomycin), itt should be noted also that this infection is in most cases difficult to treat and there are several strains of C.difficile resistant to antibiotics such as strain O27.
Researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have conducted several studies on animals to find a way to eradicate infection with C.difficile. However, Dr Trevor Lawley, first author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said C.difficile infected mice and treated with various antibiotics had numerous relapses. But after several attempts, researchers have found a method of treating infection: faecal transplantation from healthy mice. Dr Lawley added that this method resulted in treating infection and that there were no relapses in most cases.
After having found the solution to treat C.difficile infection, the researchers wanted to move forward with the discovery. They wanted to know what specific bacteria suppresses C.difficile. In order to isolate the wanted strains, they have cultured many bacteria which are normally found in the intestine. Then researchers tested several combinations capable to suppress C.difficile bacteria. Professor Harry Flint, senior author from the University of Aberdeenl, said the combination of the six bacterial species has been shown to effectively suppress C.difficile infection. In addition, this combination restored normal intestinal flora of the intestine.
The procedure, called fecal bacteriotherapy or faecal transplantation, may help treat not only C.difficile infections and other diseases associated with microbial imbalances. Professor Gordon Dougan, senior author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said: “Faecal transplantation is viewed as an alternative treatment but it is not widely used because of the risk of introducing harmful pathogens as well as general patient aversion”.