PERFORMANCE: Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust is taking part of a trial seeking to develop a vaccine to prevent the C Difficile infection in hospitals

Despite falling numbers of cases due to better infection controls, there were still 1,000 C Difficile cases in Greater Manchester last year.

The team working on the project is led by Tom Blanchard, who is a consultant in infectious diseases at North Manchester General Hospital and leads the vaccine design group at the University of Manchester.

It is seeking 200 people aged at least 50 who have been in hospital at least twice in a period of a year, for at least three days each time, and who live in the area.

In taking part, there is a two in three chance of receiving the active vaccine.

Dr Blanchard said: “I’m confident – you can’t say 100 per cent – but I think the evidence that this is going to work is really good. This is very exciting as this may be the first vaccine to fight a hospital superbug. We’re hoping to start in the next week or so.

“We want to identify people who are likely to get C difficile for the first time and see if we can prevent it. By vaccinating the most vulnerable we should be able to deliver a major blow to the number of cases we are still seeing.”

The work is part of an international trial that is randomised, observer-blind and placebo-controlled. There will be 15,000 people testing the vaccine at 200 sites across 17 countries.