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A recent report specified a wound treatment that involves applying sterilized maggots to eat dead tissues. It was reportedly a common practice during the first half of the 20th century, although it faded with the arrival of antibiotics in the 1940s. 

Wales Online report said maggots are being used for the cleaning of wounds by the National Health Service (NHS) amid the danger of antibiotic resistance threatening the wellbeing of patients.

Due to the resistance to antibiotics, these larvae are being used again by the NHS and overseas. 

In a paper, it was reported that superbugs are killing approximately 700,000 people every year, a number estimated to reach 10 million by 2050.

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Science Times - Live Maggots Used by the NHS as Antibiotics: Is This an Effective Technique for Cleaning Wounds?
(Photo : Cory Doctorow on Wikimedia Commons)
A multinational wound care company ‘rears maggots from Greenbottle Blowflies’ and sells approximately 25,000 ‘biobags’ that contain the insects throughout Europe every year, which also include 9,000 to the NHS.


25,000 'Biobags' of Maggots Sold Each Year

In a similar Thakoni news report, it was specified that a South Wales-based multinational wound care company, BioMonde, "rears maggots from Greenbottle Blowflies" and sells approximately 25,000 "biobags" that contain the insects throughout Europe every year, which also include 9,000 to the NHS. 

The company's website states "Larval Therapy" also called "Maggot Therapy" or "Biosurgery" involves the use of the greenbottle fly's larvae, which are introduced into a wound to eliminate necrotic, sloughy and, or infected tissue.

Moreover, larvae can also be used to keep the wound clean following a debridement if a specific injury is considered susceptible to "re-sloughing." 

A Centuries-Old Technique

This technique has been used for centuries already. It was only reintroduced into modern-day therapeutics by doctors and wound care experts who have discovered that larvae can clean wounds much faster than conventional dressings. 

In the said reports, it was specified that the bags, with each containing live maggots from 50 to 400 individuals, are placed on wounds that no longer heal through antibiotics. It works by maggots eating away the rotten flesh, containing and having the infection killed off.

According to healthcare science professor Yamni Nigam from Swansea University, maggots are viewed as an agent of decay. However, they are actually  "brilliant tiny creatures," that work extremely effectively in wounds with resistant infections. 

The professor added, "We're on the cusp of this worldwide catastrophe" of antibacterial resistance and larval therapy is at times considered a backup plan or last option to deal with resistance. However, it is actually part of the solution, the expert said.

Originally Used to Treat Soldiers' Wounds

The use of live maggots was originally popularized by William Baer, an American scientist who used the tiny creatures as a treatment for soldiers' wounds during World War I.

According to clinical support assistant Rebecca Llewellyn at BioMonde, it is a tried and trusted therapy that has stood the test of time for centuries, if not thousands of years. More so, the said treatment is considered by some people as an old-fashioned cure, although it is certainly useful in a modern setting.

In 2017, the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals developed a policy to allow nursing staff to manage would debridement using Maggot Larval Therapy or MLT based on best-recognized practice.

Wounds are expensive, not to mention a growing problem. At the time of the policy's development, more than 2,000 wound management products were available on the market.

On top of that, all healthcare team members can be part of wound care in different settings, with patients frequently moving between environments and professionals.

Related report about maggot therapy is shown on Kenya Citizen TV's YouTube video below:

 

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