12 INVESTIGATES: Possible C-Diff breakthrough - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

12 INVESTIGATES: Possible C-Diff breakthrough

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A possible medical break-through for a superbug we've been warning you about for months. A researcher at UVA Medical Center has created a promising new anti-biotic.

Clostridium Difficile - C-Diff - is a deadly intestinal bacteria that's often most contagious in the one place you go to get better - the hospital! C-Diff can lead to severe diarrhea, ruptured colons, kidney failure and blood poisoning. 14,000 die each year - that's a low estimate.

The drug that can beat it: Amixicle.

"C-Diff is very, very susceptible to this drug, Amixicle," said Dr. Paul Hoffman.

We caught up with Dr. Hoffman at his UVA research lab. He says amixicle targets an enzyme found in the bad bacteria that gets in your gut. It leaves probiotic or good bacteria alone.

"These are the ones that the drug does not kill. So you allow your normal flora to thrive. While you get rid of the bad guy, C-Diff bacteria," said Dr. Hoffman.

He's tested it on mice with amazing results - the next step is humans and clinical trials, where he'll figure out the proper dosage for patients and how long they need to take the drug.

He's one of only a few researchers nationwide that are still trying to make antibiotics.

"Wouldn't it be nice to have a drug you don't care about. You just give it to anybody who wants it. That you know they'll never be drug resistant."

We are still at least a year away from this drug going mainstream. Hoffman hopes his research is just the first step. He says once you show the path, others will follow.

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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