You may have heard that, thanks to widespread and often-sloppy antibiotic usage, some strains of bacteria are becoming horrifyingly resistant to antibiotics. Well I have both good news and bad news: fecal transplants may be the gross cure for antibiotic resistant infections, possibly coming soon to a hospital near you. Though fecal transplants have shown some promise in fighting more obscure conditions, like a kind infection that typically occurs after you've already been taking antibiotics for a while, they may hold the promise for treating more common antibiotic resistant bugs in the future.
Researchers from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, NY have used a mouse model to investigate the relationship between drug-resistant versions of klebsiella pneumoniae and enterococcus faecium. These two infections cause about 10 percent of dangerous infections acquired in U.S. hospitals, and traditional drugs now often fail to cure them. Mice infected with both strains and then give mousey fecal transplants were cured of the former bug 100 percent of the time, and the latter 60 percent of the time.
It gets even grosser, because fecal transplants are actually done through your nose, at least until the pill form of fecal transplants becomes available. If sexually-transmitted diseases like antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea continue to spread, that means your only treatment option to clear the infection in your junk might one day be to ingest fecal bacteria through your face. If you needed another reason to practice safer sex, then there you go.
The researchers from the mouse fecal transplant study's efforts, then, "are focused on the identification of commensal bacterial species." In other words, doctors need to figure out which species of fecal bacteria to feed you that will properly counteract the bad bacteria in your gut. Though it's really great to hear that the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria doesn't mean we're all going to die, our bacteria-laden fecal transplant future sure is an icky one, and will have you wishing that those magic meds still worked like they did for ear infections and strep throat when you were a kid.
Image: Voyagerix/Fotolia, Giphy