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Easier to Swallow?

Thomas Louie, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Calgary, presented a pill-based fecal transplant to treat Clostridium difficile infections at a recent conference, the Associated Press reports. At the IDWeek meeting, Louie said that 27 patients with recurrent C. difficile infections had been treated this way, with no relapses.

The pills are personalized for each patient and are based on donor stool, usually from a relative. Those donor samples are processed and the bacteria from the extracted and put into triple-coated gel capsules that won't dissolve until they pass through the stomach.

"There's no stool left — just stool bugs. These people are not eating poop," Louie tells the AP.

The patients were given the pills after taking an antibiotic and an enema so "the new bacteria coming in have a clean slate," Louie says.

"The approach that Dr. Louie has is completely novel — no one else has done this," says Curtis Donskey from the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, who performs colonoscopy-based fecal transplants to the AP. "I am optimistic that this type of preparation will make these procedures much easier for patients and for physicians."

LiveScience adds that the treatment was well tolerated by the patients, noting that the patients had to take between 24 to 34 capsules within five minutes to 15 minutes.