Researchers have revealed that a new antibiotic that combats deadly superbug C.diff could save thousands of lives when it is made available on the NHS.
C.diff has been blamed for almost 20,000 deaths in the last decade and claimed the lives of 2,704 hospital patients in 2010.
Researchers say Fidaxomicin neutralises the harmful organism and prevent patients suffering painful and potentially lethal relapses, the Mirror reported.
"It could have a phenomenal clinical impact," said Professor Robert Masterton, of the Institute of Healthcare Associated Infections.
"It means that 15 in every 100 patients who get C.diff would be saved from any relapse. They will be out of hospital and enjoying their lives. It represents huge cost savings but it will also save lives," he noted.
There were 27,000 cases of C.diff reported last year and it is now picked up in the wider community as much as hospitals. Around 10 percent of victims die and 300percent suffer relapses.
According to the results of trials in the UK and Europe and published in the Lancet reveal, Fidaxomicin halves the relapse risk.
"The high rate of relapses is an overlooked problem but carries an increased risk of death and a considerable burden on NHS budgets. Each C.diff case costs 4,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds to treat," Professor Masterton added.
C.diff is in the stomachs of many adults but only becomes active if the system is altered by antibiotics. It releases toxins that cause potentially fatal gut infections.