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Irish team tackle superbug

A TEAM of Irish researchers has developed a revolutionary new way of tackling one of the world's most feared hospital 'superbugs'.

Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) researcher, Dr Roy Sleator, has pioneered a 'friendly fire' method of fighting Clostridium Difficile, better known as C-Diff.

The bacterial infection is extremely contagious and can prove extremely serious for patients recovering from operations as well as the very young and elderly.

Now, Dr Sleator has developed a method of using a 'friendly' and harmless bacteria to help kill off C-Diff infections.

If the technique proves to be commercially effective, it could be worth millions to Ireland in terms of future R&D as well as specialist healthcare treatments.

"In essence, a probiotic or 'good bacteria', can be modified to make them fight antibiotic resistant infections in a number of ways," the CIT researcher told the Herald.

The Cork team worked to develop a 'friendly' bacteria that targets C-Diff by competing with C-Diff in the gut to limit its spread, engaging in chemical warfare with C-Diff and, lastly, having the 'friendly' bacteria mop-up the generated toxins -- which actually cause most harm to patients.