This spring, a 73-year-old man with a rare blood condition became the first person to die from drug-resistant bacteria found in a fecal transplant. New details about that unprecedented incident emerged on [October 30].
The man was a participant in a clinical trial run at Massachusetts General Hospital and received fecal transplant capsules made in November with fecal material from one stool donor, according to a paper published [October 30] in the New England Journal of Medicine. Tests after the man’s death revealed that material contained a rare type of E. coli bacteria.
MGH scientists started screening for those kinds of bacteria in January. However, the hospital did not test capsules they’d already produced, researchers disclosed.
Twenty-one other people also received capsules made with material from the same donor, the NEJM paper said. One other person reported serious side effects, but recovered; several others tested positive for the resistant bacteria but weren’t made sick.
The paper’s publication comes just days before the FDA will hold a Nov. 4 meeting about the safety and regulation of fecal transplants.