The wrong C Difficile toxin has been the target of the decades-long fight against the potentially deadly hospital superbug, according to new research.
Reports Professor Dale Gerding, from Hines VA Hospital in the US: “For 20 years, we have been focusing on toxin A but it turns out the real culprit is toxin B.
“This is a major finding in how C Difficile causes disease in humans. It completely flips our whole concept of what the important toxin is with this disease.
“This is probably the best evidence to date about the relative importance of these two toxins.”
The new research, reported in the journal Nature, found that when toxin A was knocked out, the organism was fully virulent. When toxin B was knocked out, the organism did not cause disease.
Between July and September last year, 7,061 cases of C difficile were reported in England among elderly patients. That was 19% down on the previous quarter and 35% less than the same three months in 2007.
Copyright Press Association 2009