Bacterial, Gut Microbiome-Modifying Therapies to Defend against Multidrug Resistant Organisms

Microorganisms. 2020 Jan 24;8(2):166. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms8020166.


Antibiotics have revolutionized human and animal healthcare, but their utility is reduced as bacteria evolve resistance mechanisms over time. Thankfully, there are novel antibiotics in the pipeline to overcome resistance, which are mentioned elsewhere in this special issue, but eventually bacteria are expected to evolve resistance to most new compounds as well. Multidrug resistant organisms (MDROs) that cause infections increase morbidity, mortality, and readmissions as compared with susceptible organisms. Consequently, many research and development pipelines are focused on non-antibiotic strategies, including fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), probiotics and prebiotics, and a range of therapies in between. Studies reviewed here focus on efforts to directly treat or prevent MDRO infections or colonization. The studies were collected through, PubMed, and the International Conference on the Harmonisation Good Clinical Practice website ( While the gold standard of clinical research is randomized controlled trials (RCTs), several pilot studies are included because the field is so young. Although a vast preclinical body of research has led to studies in humans, animal and in vitro studies are not within the scope of this review. This narrative review discusses microbiome-modifying therapies targeting MDROs in the gut and includes current results, ongoing clinical trials, companies with therapies in the pipeline specifically for MDROs, and commentary on clinical implementation and challenges.

Keywords: antibiotic resistance; fecal microbiota transplant; multidrug resistant organisms; prebiotic; probiotic.

Publication types

  • Review