2022 | United States | Documentary

The Invisible Extinction

  • English 80 mins
  • Director | Steven Lawrence, Sarah Schenck

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Superstar scientists Gloria Dominguez-Bello and Marty Blaser confront an international public health emergency - the loss of our ancestral microbes – while three patients with life-threatening diseases triggered by this disruption explore experimental treatments to save their lives.

Most people think germs (another word for microbes) are bad for us, but what if they’re mostly good and wiping out the ones inside us is creating a health crisis that threatens humanity’s future?

That’s the driving question behind "The Invisible Extinction," a documentary film that follows globetrotting microbiologists Gloria Dominguez-Bello and Marty Blaser on their urgent quest to protect and restore our microbes before it’s too late. Microbes are critical to our development and well-being. The microbiome is all the microbes (bacteria! and fungi! and viruses!) in our bodies that usually keep us healthy. In the last 50 years, we humans have lost 50% of our ancestral microbes with devastating consequences. Gloria and Marty believe this loss has triggered a surge in life-threatening illnesses that barely existed fifty years ago, including obesity, asthma, autism, severe food allergies, and diabetes - and that what's driving this loss is overuse of antibiotics; highly processed foods; a hyper-hygienic lifestyle sealing humans away from animals and plant life; and elective C-sections. The Invisible Extinction follows Gloria and Marty - who are partners in life and the lab - on their urgent quest to reverse this trend, as they conduct groundbreaking research and work with collaborators in Venezuela, China, Israel, Switzerland, and the USA.

Microbiome Microbe Disease Public Health Extinction Antibiotics