Scientists are testing vaginal pessaries (medical device inserted into the vagina) containing 'good' probiotic bacteria for the treatment of vaginal thrush. Research published today (19 February) in the Society for Applied Microbiology's Journal of Applied Microbiology shows that this approach could be a viable alternative to using precious antimicrobial drugs.
The team, led by Dr M. Cristina Verdenelli at Università di Camerino, Italy, tested five strains of lactobacilli for their antimicrobial potential against the most common type of vaginal infections, Candida. Their in vitro experiments showed that the combination of two strains, Lactobacillus rhamnosus IMC 501® and Lactobacillus paracasei IMC 502®, also known as SYNBIO®, patented by Synbiotec Srl, had all the necessary characteristics.
Dr Verdenelli said "We've all heard of using natural yoghurt to manage vaginal thrush as an alternative to antimicrobial medicines, but we wanted to test whether the type of probiotic bacteria found in yoghurt could actually kill or restrict the growth of candida. The results in the lab have been very good and we have moved on to test our formulation in patients."
Dr Verdenelli's team were looking for two main characteristics of the bacteria: their ability to produce a substances that would likely kill the candida and their ability to grow on human cells alongside the yeast infection. Of the five strains they tested, the SYNBIO® formulation had the best overall characteristics, adhering well to human cells, growing alongside candida, and producing hydrogen peroxide to kill the yeast cells
Results from the human study, carried out at the Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Centre for Perinatal and Reproductive Medicine, Santa Maria della Misericorida, University Hospital of Perugia, in collaboration with Professor Gian Carlo Di Renzo, are pending.
With the increasing problem of antimicrobial resistance, it is vital to consider alternative methods of preventing and control infection and this study is a good example of scientists doing just that.