Maggots used to clean wounds in NHS as antibiotics fail some patients

Live maggots are increasingly being used by the NHS to clean wounds as antibiotic resistance puts patient wellbeing at risk.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, treatment – which involved applying sterilized fly larvae to wounds to eat dead tissue – was in the first half of the 20th century.

However, thanks to antibiotic resistance, maggots are being used again in the NHS and overseas. The paper reports that superbugs kill around 700,000 people annually, a number that is projected to be 10 million by 2050.

BioMonde, a multinational wound care company based in Bridgend, South Wales, breeds maggots from Greenbottle Blowflies and sells around 25,000 “organic bags” of the insects across Europe annually – 9,000 of them to the NHS.

Its website states, “Larval Therapy, also known as ‘maggot therapy’ or ‘biosurgery’, involves the use of green fly larvae inserted into a wound to remove necrotic, scaly, and / or infected tissue. Larvae Can also be used to maintain a clean post-debridement wound when a particular wound is considered prone to re-mucus formation.

“The technique, which has been used for centuries, has been reintroduced into modern medicine by doctors and wound specialists who have found that larvae can clean wounds much faster than traditional wound dressings.”

The Telegraph said the pouches, each containing between 50 and 400 live maggots, are placed on wounds that antibiotics do not heal. The maggots eat away the rotten meat, contain the infection and kill it.

“Maggots are seen as spoilers when, in fact, they are brilliant little creatures … and work incredibly well on wounds with resistant infections,” said Yamni Nigam, professor of health at Swansea University.

“We are on the cusp of this global disaster of antibiotic resistance and larval therapy is sometimes seen as a backup plan or a last resort to fight resistance – but actually it is part of the solution.” US scientist William Baer, ​​who used it to treat wounds of soldiers during the First World War.

“It’s a proven and trusted treatment that has been proven for hundreds, if not thousands of years,” said Rebecca Llewellyn, a clinical support assistant at BioMonde. “[It] considered old-fashioned by some, but definitely useful in a modern setting. “

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