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Seeking safe microbiome therapies amid COVID-19 crisis

Reports of virus in COVID-19 patient stool samples add to safety pressures for microbiome companies

Reports that the novel coronavirus lingers in the stools of COVID-19 patients has put a spotlight on the safety risks of gut microbiome therapies. As researchers sort out whether the virus is capable of fecal transmission, microbiome companies are defining safety profiles according to their product compositions and protocol updates.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about transmission via tissue donations of all kinds, fecal microbiota for transplantation (FMT) used to treat Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has become especially worrisome given increasing data on the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in stool, and the fact that FMT recipients are typically immunosuppressed.

Whether the virus in stool is capable of infecting others, and whether that status varies with a patient's disease state, are still open questions. There have been no reports

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