Poo transplants will soon be offered to treat this superbug, here's how they work

NHS-approved poo transplants can treat an antibiotic-resistant superbug and save money. Here's how it works.

NHS approves poo pills to treat superbug, here's how they work
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NHS approves poo pills to treat superbug, here's how they work

Contrary to their name, superbugs are anything but super. They can cause gastrointestinal issues such as stomach pain, nausea, and frequent trips to the toilet. Luckily, one superbug – called clostridium difficile, or C.diff for short – can be now be treated. The catch? It comes from poo.

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An unlikely cure

Poo isn’t usually something we’re eager to get our hands on. But for patients struggling with antibiotic-resistant C.diff, it’s could be an effective option.

According to The Guardian, it works like this: gut bacteria is removed from the stool of a healthy donor, which is then transplanted into the patient. Transplantation can take place by insertion of the bacteria through the nose to the stomach, a direct-deposit into the colon via a tube, or by swallowing it in pill form… Just don’t think about where it came from.

An unlikely cure Kittisak Jirasittichai / EyeEm

Once the healthy gut bacteria reaches the patient’s intestines, it promotes the growth of more healthy bacteria to combat C.diff.

The treatment has been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for C.diff patients who have been through 2 rounds of antibiotics without success.

The interim director of medical technology at NICE, Mark Chapman, explained:

This innovative treatment will provide another tool for health professionals to use in the fight against this infection, while at the same time balancing the need to offer the best care with value for money.

Less money down the toilet

One of the perks of poo transplants is that they are cost-effective. Imagine: instead of spending exorbitant amounts of money on the production of a pharmacological drug, the cure can be found right in your own toilet. Well, not quite, but it is naturally-occurring.

Data cited in The Guardian estimates that poo transplants can save the NHS £769 if administered through a colonoscopy, and up to £8,297 in pill form.

In addition, poo transplants can help reduce current-day reliance on, and resistance to, antibiotics.

NICE has stated that the treatments should be made in line with human medicine regulations after donors undergo a strict screening program.

Interested in becoming a donor? Your stool could be the tool for someone suffering from C.diff to find relief.

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