The first vaccine against C.difficile will be trialled in hospitals in Greater Manchester, it has been revealed.
The superbug, which mainly affects elderly people, strikes more than 15,000 people in Britain each year and is immune to most antibiotics, making it very difficult to cure.
But now, a doctor from Manchester, Thomas Blanchard, is testing a new vaccine that could save thousands of lives.
He said: “I’m confident – you can’t say 100% – but I think the evidence that this is going to work is really good.”
An infectious diseases consultant at North Manchester General Hospital, he described the creation of the first valuable vaccine as 'exciting' and said they would be trialling it within weeks.
By vaccinating the most vulnerable we should be able to deliver a major blow to the number of cases we are still seeing
The study will see 200 patients injected with the preventative drug at Fairfield General Hospital, North Manchester General Hospital, Royal Oldham Hospital and Rochdale Infirmary.
Dr Blanchard said: “We’re looking for people who have been in hospital at least twice in the period of 12 months. They need to have spent a total of six days in hospital and to have taken antibiotics in that period, they’ve then got to be followed up for three years.
“We want to identify people who are likely to get C.diff and see how we can prevent it.
“By vaccinating the most vulnerable we should be able to deliver a major blow to the number of cases we are still seeing.”
Pharmaceutical company, Sanofi Pasteur, has spent more than a decade developing the drug and it has already been used on hamsters, with officials confident a licence will be granted.
Dr Blanchard said he hopes it 'will be able to prevent all this disease and mortality’.
He said: “Tetanus is gone from the UK and the reason is that everyone gets vaccinated against it.
“There’s a strong track record that this type of vaccine is really safe. It will have to go into general widespread use, but I really think it will work.”