The Methodist Hospital SystemNecrotizing fasciitis (NF), generally called flesh-eating disease or flesh-eating bacteria, is said to be an uncommon infection of the deeper layers of skin and subcutaneous tissues. It effortlessly spreads across the fascial plane inside the subcutaneous tissue.

Researchers from the Methodist Hospital Research Institute in Houston claimed to have freshly found a simple gene mutation that appears to decrease the odds of people contracting the flesh-eating disease known as necrotizing fasciitis. Additionally, they apparently established that inactivating this segment of the gene may possibly diminish the incapacitating disease in humans.

This disease is deadly in roughly 30 percent of those who contract it. The most common cause is said to be group A Streptococcus (GAS) bacteria. The same bacteria are also the reason for step throat.

“The study of genomics has opened a wealth of information on how disease develops on a molecular level. When we identify a gene mutation that has a direct effect on a disease – like we have done for the flesh-eating bacteria – this opens up doors to designing drugs that provide treatments and cures,” commented, Dr. James Musser, co-director of The Methodist Hospital Research Institute.

Musser added, “Single-nucleotide changes are the most common cause of natural genetic variation among members of the same species, but there is remarkably little information on how these common genetic mutations affect the infectious and damaging nature of some bacteria. It is one of these single-nucleotide mutations in the GAS genome that is associated with decreased human necrotizing fasciitis, or flesh eating disease.”

Dr. James Musser and his team is said to have examined the genomic sequences of 12 GAS strains extracted from people with numerous strep-related diseases, counting necrotizing fasciitis. This examination apparently divulged a naturally happening mutation in the strep genome that seemed to diminish necrotizing fasciitis in humans.

Supposedly, it also exhibited that the mutation appeared to have caused a section of the gene to ‘switch off’ which seemingly decreased the disease’s capability to obliterate soft tissue, spread from the infection site, and cause human necrotizing fasciitis and death.

The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).