A new study suggests poo transplants could beat antibiotics for treating the C. diff superbug.

Treating recurrent infections caused by superbug Clostridium difficile using faecal microbiota transplants (FMT) increased survival by around a third, cut time spent in hospital by half, and reduced the risk of sepsis by nearly four times, compared to antibiotics.

Italian researchers compared outcomes for 290 patients hospitalised with recurrent C.diff infections who were treated with either faecal transplants (n=109) or antibiotics (n=181).

Five patients in the FMT group and 22 in the antibiotic group developed a bloodstream infection.

Because of differences in the patients treated with FMT versus antibiotics in many baseline characteristics, including number of recurrences and C.diff severity, comparative analyses were limited to a matched cohort.

Risk for bloodstream infection was 23 per cent lower in the FMT group and the FMT group also had 14 fewer days of hospitalisation and a 32 per cent increase in overall survival at 90 days, compared with the antibiotic group.

According to the researchers, these findings suggest that FMT may be an option not only for curing recurrent CDI but also for preventing its complications.

The study is accessible here.