COMMON painkillers may be effective in the fight against "superbugs", research suggests.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) -which include ibuprofen and are used to relieve pain and fever - may also kill bacteria, a study found.

Research published in the Cell Press journal Chemistry and Biology suggests NSAIDs act on bacteria in a way that is fundamentally different from antibiotics.

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Experts believe the discovery could eventually pave the way for new treatments to fight "superbugs", which are resistant to current antibiotics.

Dr Aaron Oakley, from the University of Wollongong in Australia, said: "The fact that the bacteria-killing effect of the anti-inflammatory drugs is different from conventional drugs means the NSAIDS could be developed into new kinds of antibiotics that are effective against superbugs."