From Donor to Patient: Collection, Preparation and Cryopreservation of Fecal Samples for Fecal Microbiota Transplantation

Diseases. 2020 Apr 15;8(2):9. doi: 10.3390/diseases8020009.


Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) is suggested as an efficacious therapeutic strategy for restoring intestinal microbial balance, and thus for treating disease associated with alteration of gut microbiota. FMT consists of the administration of fresh or frozen fecal microorganisms from a healthy donor into the intestinal tract of diseased patients. At this time, in according to healthcare authorities, FMT is mainly used to treat recurrent Clostridium difficile. Despite the existence of a few existing stool banks worldwide and many studies of the FMT, there is no standard method for producing material for FMT, and there are a multitude of factors that can vary between the institutions. The main constraints for the therapeutic uses of FMT are safety concerns and acceptability. Technical and logistical issues arise when establishing such a non-standardized treatment into clinical practice with safety and proper governance. In this context, our manuscript describes a process of donor safety screening for FMT compiling clinical and biological examinations, questionnaires and interviews of donors. The potential risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus by the use of fecal microbiota for transplantation must be taken urgently into consideration. We discuss a standardized procedure of collection, preparation and cryopreservation of fecal samples through to the administration of material to patients, and explore the risks and limits of this method of FMT. The future success of medicine employing microbiota transplantation will be tightly related to its modulation and manipulation to combat dysbiosis. To achieve this goal, standard and strict methods need to be established before performing any type of FMT.

Keywords: COVID-19; FMT; cryoconservation; fecal microbiota transplantation; fecal samples; gut microbiota; stool banks.

Publication types

  • Review