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Immunisation hope for superbugs

14th July 2008

Vaccines for two of the most prominent hospital superbugs could be developed within ten years, it has been claimed.

The government’s chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson says a vaccine for clostridium difficile (C.diff) is three years away, while a vaccine for MRSA should be available in a decade.

According to the latest official statistics there were more than 13,000 cases of the two superbugs in England during the third quarter last year.

But despite being contributory factors in 8,000 deaths in hospitals between 2006 and 2008, infection rates are falling.

Publishing his annual report on Monday Sir Liam said vaccinations had been a “cornerstone” of public health for the last 200 years.

“Vaccination is arguably the most important public health development in the history of humankind,” he explained.

“Over the last 200 years it has saved hundreds of millions of lives worldwide.

“The continuing work to develop new vaccines and potentially save more lives in the future is a testament to the work of Edward Jenner two centuries ago. New vaccines could not just prevent infectious diseases, but could also prevent or treat some cancers and other chronic conditions.”

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