Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of bacteria cultured from a sample of human feces.
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Supermarket shelves are full of largely unregulated probiotics that aim to keep gut bacteria in balance. With its new drug Vowst, Seres has created something different: the first oral prescription treatment for the microbiome. Approved by the FDA in April, Vowst is a capsule full of carefully selected bacterial spores that together can suppress growth of C. difficile, which can cause life-­threatening infections, and are a common complication in hospitals. In studies, Vowst was 88% effective in preventing repeat infections after two months. “This is a game changer for this patient population,” says Eric Shaff, president and CEO of Seres. It will be available starting in June.

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