Cookie Preference

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. Please select an option.  Privacy Policy

No cookies except for those necessary for technical reasons are set.


Reducing the collateral damage of antibiotics on gut microbes

Dr Athanasios Typas, EMBL; Dr Lisa Maier, EMBL



Antibiotics are widely used for fighting pathogens, but they also target bacteria from our gut microbiome as a side effect. The human gut microbiome plays an important role for our health and its dysbiosis can ultimately lead to disease. So, even though prescribed to fight sickness, taking antibiotics could lead to developing other diseases. Since, however, the use of antibiotics in modern medicine is indispensable, there is an important need to reduce their side effects on the gut microbiome.


Scientists of the EMBL Heidelberg have conducted a study and identified drug combinations, that can prevent collateral damage of antibiotics on gut commensals, while the antibiotic activity against relevant pathogens is not compromised. In an in vitro study several combinations with antagonistic activity were identified, 4 thereof which had an effect over a broad concentration range in different prevalent and abundant gut species. At the same time these combinations did not compromise the antibiotic activity against bacterial pathogens. While, on one hand the identified drug combinations can provide improved antibiotic therapies with reduced side effects, on the other hand the technology can lead to new strategies for controlled modulation of the gut microbiome.

Commercial Opportunity

We offer a technology evaluation program, as well as licensing and collaboration opportunities.

Development Status

The proof of principle was shown for several drug combinations in vitro.

Patent Situation

A patent application has been filed in 2019.

Further Reading


Reducing the collateral damage of antibiotics on gut microbes