For example, there is growing evidence to suggest that autism spectrum and eating disorders, cardiovascular disease and metabolic conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes may all be associated with microbial imbalances in the gut, explains Sandrine Claus, a lecturer in metabolomics at the University of Reading, UK.
"The microbiome field has produced some of the most exciting science discoveries of the last five years, and its potential impact on human health is just too big to ignore"
If confirmed, these findings could have an enormous impact on human health. The benefits for treating diabetes alone, which affects over 300 million people globally, could be transformational. “If we were able to prevent the disease’s complications by manipulating the gut microbiome in only 10 per cent of patients, this would still equate to millions of people with a preserved quality of life", says Dr Claus.
The Economist also published a short video MyNewGut project's Dr Sandrine Claus, of the University of Reading, explains what microbial medicine means, some of its most promising applications, and why bacteria might one day replace pills as the main way to deliver medicine. Click here to watch the video.