Antimicrobial activity of a vaginal gel formulation: Considerations related to vaginal infection and dysbiosis

Francesco De Seta, Bryan Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many non-prescription preparations intended to treat or alleviate symptoms of vaginal infection are available in American and European markets, but many have scant preclinical or clinical research underpinning. Respecta® Balance Gel (RBG) is marketed as an adjunct to probiotic treatment and its relevant antimicrobial properties were studied. Key findings with the manufacturer-supplied gel showed reduced turbidity in broth-dilution tests by 50% against Candida albicans and Candida glabrata at RBG concentrations 0.2–0.4% of neat product, respectively. A 50% reduction in turbidity of Escherichia coli, Streptococcus agalactiae, Enterococcus faecalis ranged from 1.6–2.2% and Gardnerella vaginalis was shown by flow cytometry counts to undergo a 50% reduction at 0.3% RBG. Propidium iodide staining indicated a rapid reduction of cell integrity of G. vaginalis almost immediately while after 4 h 45% of E. coli cells were stained. The lactic acid in BHI inhibited bacteria and yeast at concentrations ranging from 0.2–1.8% but inhibition was not solely due to pH since a 1:4 dilution of RBG resulted in a pH near neutral (6.75). Other findings showed biofilm accumulation assessed after 10-days exposure of Candida spp. to RBG and was reduced by an average of one-third (community strains) to one-half (drug-resistant strains). One excipient of the RBG, disodium EDTA, inhibited the growth of bacteria and yeast at concentrations below those present in RBG and may accentuate the activity of the host defense factor, lactoferrin. We conclude that RBG is a potent inhibitor of vaginal microorganisms relevant to vaginitis or intrapartum infections and contains excipients that may contribute to its antimicrobial activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1576
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Anti-fungal
  • Antibacterial
  • Dysbiosis
  • EDTA
  • Non-prescription formulation
  • Topical treatments
  • Vaginal infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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