The Vaginal Microbiome: Current Understanding and Future Directions

J Infect Dis. 2016 Aug 15;214 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S36-41. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiw184.


This article summarizes the highlights of the expert technical consultation on bacterial vaginosis (BV), sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and held in Washington, DC, on 8-9 April 2015. Many issues touched on in this article are discussed in much greater detail in the 6 preceding articles in this supplement to The Journal of Infectious Diseases There was a consensus among the meeting attendees concerning the most important research issues in the field: the pathogenesis of the syndrome, way to optimize treatment, and the relative roles of sexual transmission and endogenous infection in BV epidemiology. This article concludes with a listing of BV and genitourinary tract research priorities that were discussed and agreed on by attendees. The most important of these included better characterization of vaginal microbiome community state subtypes, application of advanced "-omic" technologies to improve understanding of BV pathogenesis, further investigation of the relationships between the male and female genitourinary tract microbiomes, and the development of new drugs for BV treatment.

Keywords: antibiotics; bacterial vaginosis; genitourinary tract; microbiome; vaginal; women's health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Computational Biology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbiota* / genetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Pregnancy
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Vagina / microbiology*
  • Vagina / pathology
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / drug therapy
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / immunology
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / microbiology*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S