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Pill developed to tackle Clostridium difficile

22nd October 2012

Researchers in London have claimed to have created a vaccine, which can be taken as a pill, to protect against the Clostridium difficile superbug.

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Dr Simon Cutting and his team from the school of biological sciences at the Royal Holloway University of London have made a vaccine which combines the superbug with bacterial spores which are naturally present in human intestines.

He said: "There is currently no vaccine available against C difficile and it is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, so the ways of combating it are limited. It causes a lot of problems in hospitals however."

"We have found that our vaccine can produce full protection against the bacteria in animal models. We are now in discussions with drug companies and hope to begin initial safety trials in humans early next year."

The superbug caused "at least" 2,000 deaths and over 24,000 infections in 2011. Resistance to antibiotics means it is more difficult to treat and it can be deadly for very young, old or fragile patients in hospitals.

The team said they thought making a vaccine in pill form would be most effective as the spores take parts of the C difficile bacteria through the wall of the intestines, which causes a reaction and provides immunity against the bug.

 

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