Experimental drug is helpful against c. diff, animal study finds

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An experimental compound, which investigators say could be used as an alternative to antibiotics, has been shown to be effective in fighting Clostridium difficile in laboratory mice.

The compound mimics a natural cellular defense mechanism that neutralizes the toxins that cause c. difficile. The disease, which causes severe diarrhea, is one of the most common healthcare-acquired infections and can prove deadly in elderly nursing home residents.

In laboratory studies, conducted by investigators at University of California, Los Angeles, Case Western Reserve University, Tufts University and the Commonwealth Medical College and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, mice treated with the compound became less ill and were more likely to survive C. diff infection than untreated mice, according to the study.

"This may prove to be an alternative to antibiotics," study author Tor Savidge, M.D., told Reuters, adding that more study is needed.

The study was published in the journal Nature Medicine.

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