UK's Labor MP Madeline Moon has come out with a proposal that she claims will save the National Health Services (NHS), millions of pounds, by preventing the spread of superbug MRSA. The notion is the use of maggots in treating wounds, and avoiding the extensive use of antibiotics, which create such superbugs.
The idea is not new. Maggots or pre-adult stages of flies, shaped like tiny white worms, were used many years ago till the beginning of the last century, to treat festering and open wounds. The procedure worked because the maggots only fed upon and cleared dead or rotting flesh, and never healthy tissues. Maggot therapy gave way to antibiotics for obvious reasons.
Yet, counters Moon, whose notion is backed by 39 MPs, the idea is not to be perceived as disgusting. The maggots will be raised in a sterile condition and the wounds covered so that the maggots do not get to morph into adult flies.
According to Moon, the procedure is an "accepted and valuable resource" and has already been used to treat 30,000 patients on the NHS.
Treatment of wounds by maggots result in it clearing up in just 5 days as opposed to 89 days by antibiotics, as clinical trials have shown. The MPs have argued that if maggots are used in wound treatment, it will result in hospital beds being cleared earlier and put to use for others.
The MPs are asking the Department of Health to advice NHS Trusts to consider the use of maggots to clean wounds, reduce treatment times and improve outcomes for patients.
As of now, the Department of Health has declined to comment.
Still, maggot therapy has its followers. Cell biologist Dr Stephen Britland from Bradford University says: "Maggot therapy is now used in several locations in the UK and across Europe. They are used to clean the wound, after which they are removed."