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Update: This story and its headline were changed to reflect an update from the FDA, posted Friday, March 13 that included additional information about the two patients who died.

One person died and four were hospitalized after they received stool transplants from OpenBiome, the Food and Drug Administration and the commercial stool bank announced Thursday.

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  • The FDA announced these results. FMT is safe, meaning that the risk-benefit ratio is acceptable. But dangerous bacteria were present in sufficient numbers in several occasions to cause a death and several hospitalizations. Improved screening techniques should reduce further instances. We should not adopt a lower safety standard for a medical product that is more natural than for a synthesized product . Natural does not automatically mean safer.

  • This headline is really misleading. It makes it sound as if the FMT killed the patients, which is most certainly not the case. I think it should be edited to be less sensational. Please practice responsible journalism.

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