A "milestone" has been reached with the approval of a drug to treat some cases of Clostridium difficile (C diff) in Scotland.
Fidaxomicin, or Dificlir, is the first new antibiotic that has been accepted by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) to tackle the potentially fatal hospital-acquired infection since the 1950s.
It will be restricted to the treatment of adults who develop a second bout of C diff and will be provided on the advice of local microbiologists or specialists in infectious diseases.
Scientists took between eight and ten years to develop the drug.
Professor Robert Masterton, director of the Institute of Healthcare Associated Infection at the University of the West of Scotland, said: "This is the first major step forward in the treatment of C diff for ten years.
"This is excellent news for patients in Scotland. Although there has been much improvement in the management of C diff in Scotland in recent years, it is still a major cause of hospital-acquired infection.
"The approval of fidaxomicin represents a notable milestone in combating the still significant impact and spread of this disease."
The bug, spread by poor personal hygiene, mostly afflicts people with weakened immune systems and is a significant problem in hospitals and nursing homes. It is thought to be present without symptoms in 35% of hospital patients.
It affects more than 2000 people in Scotland per year, according to Health Protection Scotland figures, and in 2010 it contributed to 270 deaths.
The SMC said the drug was approved as it was considered value for money for patients.
The consortium said the drug could not be deployed in first-line use in adults with severe cases of C diff as the company did not present a "sufficiently robust economic analysis to gain acceptance".
For more information on Clostridium difficile , visit the STV Health Centre, brought to you by NHS inform.