December 2019

We all have a gut microbiome: a population of bacteria that lives in harmony with our body and provides a vital role in assisting our immune system to protect our body from harmful pathogens. An individual’s microbiome is unique, much like a fingerprint. Only now are we beginning to understand the importance and extent of the roles that this plays in all aspects of our health – from gut health to the more recently discovered impacts on the gut-brain axis and how this can mediate feelings of anxiety and depression.

The market for new antibiotics is effectively failing. No novel class of drugs for the most virulent and persistent infections, those caused by Gram negative bacteria, has entered the clinic for over 50 years, and the drugs we have are steadily, if slowly, becoming less effective. Earlier this year Dame Sally Davies, the outgoing Chief Medical Officer for England, described the threat of antibiotic resistance as ‘catastrophic’ and potentially as great as that from climate change.