Researchers at the Institute for Animal Health are developing new drugs, called virulence-blocking agents, that will help fight superbug bacteria by neutralising the poisons they produce.
The research team, led by Dr Edouard Galyov, said that the study could provide a vital tool for fighting bacteria that are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.
Drug-resistant bacteria are usually kept in check by "friendly bacteria" that live in people naturally, but when patients are treated with antibiotics they kill off these good bacteria, allowing the resistant strains to take a foothold.
However, the new class of drugs do not kill off any bacteria. Instead, they "disarm" disease-causing bacteria by preventing them from releasing the harmful toxins. This allows friendly bacteria to keep any resistant strains under control.
The new drugs have been shown to prevent harmful bacteria such as salmonella from causing disease.
"These inhibitors hold great promise, but a lot more research is needed to ensure they are delivered to the relevant site and at the right time," the Telegraph quoted Galyov, as saying.