Bacteria can also break down medications, causing them to become ineffective at times.
An HIV drug, tenofovir disoproxil (sold under the trade name Viread) had very different results in women, ranging from 49 to 75% efficacy in clinical trials.
A study looking at the role of vaginal microbiome on the drug’s activity showed that it reduced HIV infection by 61% in women with Lactobacillus dominant vaginal bacterial profile, but only by 18% in non-Lactobacillus (NLB) dominant women.
Further studies revealed the capabilities of the Gardnerella species (found in NLB women) to metabolize the drug, thus causing it to be ineffective against the HIV virus.
Microbiome research is growing at a fascinating rate as it plays an important role in regulating many of our body’s functions.