Ferring’s Microbiome Health Index is a diagnostic tool that may help distinguish a healthy gut microbiome from post-antibiotic dysbiosis, and could potentially identify debilitating illnesses such as C difficile infection
Many human illnesses can be attributed to disruption of the gut microbiome. The gut needs a diverse microbial community to remain healthy, and antibiotics that disrupt the gut’s microbe composition can cause serious infections, such as Clostridium difficile (C diff).
Ferring Pharmaceuticals announced today that they are developing a prototype biomarker that distinguishes post-antibiotic dysbiosis from healthy gut microbiota. The tool, the Microbiome Health Index for post-Antibiotic dysbiosis (MHI-A), is intended to understand and manage the risks of administering antibiotics. Additionally, Ferring hopes the MHI-A will assist in the development of live biotherapeutic products.
Identifying dysbiosis is often complex and subject to variability, and the MHI-A looks to simplify diagnostic decisions by clearly measuring gut microbiota composition. The algorithm works by comparing the relative abundances of healthy bacteria naturally found in the gut against the harmful bacteria.
Ferring reports that MHI-A is highly accurate in its ability to distinguish post-antibiotic dysbiosis from a health guy microbiome. MHI-A was developed using data from 3 clinical trials that included over 200 treated patients. The trials evaluated the efficacy of RBX2660 and RBX7455, Ferring’s investigational microbiome-based live biotherapeutic drugs intended to reduce recurrent C diff infection.
The study authors compared the MHI-A algorithm’s findings against baseline samples of post-antibiotic dysbiosis, and the MHI-A values were consistent across numerous healthy populations. The results also showed patients responded to RBX2660 and RBX7455, as indicated by a shift in the MHI-A from dysbiotic to healthy.
C difficile infection (CDI) a serious and even deadly disease, and is one of the most common hospital-acquired infections. CDI causes half a million illnesses and tens of thousands of deaths in the US each year, and this figure is believed to be an underestimate. Up to 35% of patients experience recurrent CDI, causing debilitating diarrhea, fever, stomach tenderness or pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and colitis.
CDI is often attributed to disruption of the gut microbiome, frequently due to antibiotic use that inadvertently wipes out healthy bacteria and allows C diff bacteria to grow unhindered.
Restoring the gut microbiome is seen as the best treatment for recurring CDI, and the MHI-A’s potential to rank the specific antibiotics’ impact on the gut microbiota may advise future treatment and antibiotic prescription decisions.