Narrator: This is Science Today. A key mechanism to the emergence of a deadly strain of strep bacteria has been discovered by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Dr. Victor Nizet, a professor of pediatrics and pharmacy, says streptococcus infections can cause sore throats or skin infections, but in the last three decades, there has been an epidemic of severe strep infections.
Nizet: These are infections that can strike even previously healthy individuals and are associated with severe courses sending people to hospitals and even many deaths.
Narrator: Nizet and his colleagues found that a specific genetic mutation in this single strain of strep controls the shift to this invasive form.
Nizet: By implicating a specific enzyme made by the bacteria in disease-causing potential, we have the opportunity to design medications to neutralize that enzyme. So, this is a new twist on antibiotic therapy.