New drug to tackle superbug

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A NEW antibiotic could help stem the spread of a notorious hospital bug by preventing recurrent infections, research suggests.

Almost 27,000 cases of the Clostridium difficile infection were reported in the UK last year. In 2010, C. diff caused 2,704 deaths.

The bug, spread by poor personal hygiene, mostly afflicts people with weakened immune systems and is a significant problem in hospitals and nursing homes.

Up to a quarter of patients affected by C. diff become re-infected within a month of being treated.

The new drug, fidaxomicin, works as well against C. diff as the “gold standard” treatment vancomycin, the study showed.

But compared with vancomycin, it more than halved the rate of recurrent infection from 26.9 per cent to 12.7 per cent.

The trial was led by Professor Oliver Cornely, from University Hospital Cologne, in Germany.