New jab could help fight hospital bugScientists developing jab against C. diff

29 January 2008

British scientists are developing a new jab which could help in the fight against the hospital bug Clostridium difficile.

The injection works by targeting the poisonous toxins created by C diff, which cause symptoms including diarrhoea.

The vaccine, created by the Cambridge-based company Acambis, has been tested on about 200 patients and the firm said the results have been positive.

Clinical trials

The next stage is to carry out more clinical trials in the UK.

These trials will see the vaccine tested on people who have been infected with the bug and are receiving antibiotic treatment.

There will be a second trial involving the 'at risk' population - those who are at risk of severe disease if they become infected.

Jab

The researchers hope that eventually the jab can be used to protect people going into long-term care facilities or into hospital for elective surgery.

C diff is a bacterium which is found in the gut of up to 3% of healthy adults and 66% of babies.

It does not cause any problems in healthy people but can be dangerous for patients who are weak or recovering from illness.

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