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Singaporean, Israeli scientists discover way to slow infection caused by 'flesh-eating' bacteria

Scientists discover that leukaemia drug can help slow spread of infection

Published on Jan 17, 2014 8:30 AM
 
A patient whose right calf was infected with necrotising fasciitis after he suffered a scrape. To save the leg, skin was grafted from his left thigh. -- TNP FILE PHOTO

It seems like the stuff of horror movies but is all too real - "flesh-eating" bacteria that indiscriminately destroy body parts and leave victims maimed or dead.

Five in a million people get infected a year and face a 25 per cent chance of death.

But Singapore and Israeli scientists believe they have found a way to stop these vicious infections caused by the Streptococcus bacteria.

A team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem have found that a widely used leukaemia drug called Asparaginase can prevent the flesh-eating bacteria from spreading rapidly in human blood.

 
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Background story

MAKING HEADWAY

It's one step closer to fighting the disease.

- NUS research fellow Catherine Cheng, on how the finding could offer a new option for treating patients infected with flesh-eating bacteria