A move­ment to­ward fight­ing in­fec­tions

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

Don’t flush away a chance to make a sci­en­tific con­tri­bu­tion (and earn some cash, too). Hav­ing just the right type of poop could earn you $40 a sam­ple and help the na­tion fight drug-re­sis­tant in­fec­tions.

That’s the case for 22 in­di­vid­u­als in the Bos­ton area with “fairly close to per­fect” stools, which they do­nated in spe­cial lab­o­ra­tory toi­lets, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent CNN ar­ti­cle. The healthy, life-sav­ing bac­te­ria from their guts helps to fight harm­ful bac­te­ria such as C. dif­fi­cile when trans­ferred via fe­cal trans­plant into the guts of peo­ple sick­ened with the micro­organ­ism.

OpenBiome, a com­pany that says it has “set the stan­dard of care for fe­cal mi­cro­biota trans­plan­ta­tion and stool pro­duc­tion,” has cre­ated thou­sands of treat­ments us­ing the method.

But when it comes to med­i­cal re­search, not just any poop will do. Less than 3% of prospec­tive donors pass the com­pany’s rig­or­ous screen­ing process that in­volves a 109ques­tion clin­i­cal eval­u­a­tion and stool-based in­fec­tious pathogen screen­ings. Ac­cept­able of­fer­ings also must fall in the mid­dle of the types cat­a­logued on the Bristol Stool Chart, which has seven rank­ings for ex­cre­ment based on con­sis­tency.

As OpenBiome’s Re­search Di­rec­tor, Mark Smith, told CNN: “It’s eas­ier to get into MIT and Har­vard than it is to get en­rolled as one of our donors.”

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