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Jul 12, 2016 10:10 PM EDT

University Of Virginia Researchers: 'Bad Guy' Cells Can Be The Key To Preventing The Deadly C. Difficile Infection

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University of Virginia Researchers have identified cells that plays a vital role in protecting people from the fatal C. difficile bacterial infections.

The School of Medicine in the University of Virginia have identified cells that protects humans from C. difficile infections, but this cells have been found to play a big role in causing allergies and asthma. However, researchers noted that these cells can be helpful when it comes to life and death situation involving the C. difficile bacterial infection.

This new discovery helped researchers answer some of the biggest questions regarding the C. difficile. They have answered why giving antibiotics to patients lead to severe infections and they have identified a potential method that can be used to prevent this infection. The said method can also be a way to prevent other infections as well, UVA Today reported.

The discovery was made by Erica L. Buonomo together and a team of colleagues. Their work was hailed as "the most remarkable breakthrough I participated in as a scientist" by the chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, Dr. William Petri, Weekly Hot News reported.

In 2011, the C. difficile infections recorded in the United States alone reached up to about half a million. More than 29,000 patients lost their lives only within 30 days of the infection.

A professor at the University of Calgary, Kris Chadee, called the C. difficile discovery 'unexpected' and he called it 'important'. He noted that the research has immediate impact on therapy.

C. difficile is an infection acquired at hospitals. This infection predominantly targets elderly, particularly those who are on antibiotics. The research provided answer why this happens.

The good bacteria in the gut stimulates the production of the protein called IL-25 which, in turn, recruits protective cells called eosinophils, also called 'bad guy' cells. This product produced by7 the good bacteria protects the gut lining. However, antibiotics disrupt the natural population of good bacteria, thus, making the person vulnerable to C. difficile infection.

Eosinophils, a type of white blood cells, are often defamed because of their role in causing asthma and allergies. But researchers found that eosinophils will guard the gut from C. difficile.

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