Maggots could be the latest weapon in the fight against the MRSA superbug.
A team of scientists from the University of Manchester found that using maggots to treat 13 patients suffering from foot ulcers contaminated with MRSA cut the treatment period from 28 weeks to just three.
Now a full randomised trial has been commissioned by the charity Diabetes UK to establish the extent of maggots' healing powers.
"Maggots are the world's smallest surgeons. In fact they are better than surgeons - they are much cheaper and work 24 hours a day," Professor Andrew Boulton, who led the research, said.
"There is no reason… [using maggots] cannot be applied to many other areas of the body, except perhaps a large abdominal wound," he added.
Using larval therapy is not a new technique. Maggots have been used in the American civil war and the Napoleonic wars, but their effectiveness against MRSA is a relatively new development.
Professor Boulton explained that the maggots kept the wound clean by removing dead tissue and bacteria.
He said that if the tests are successful, maggots – the larvae of flies - could offer "a safe and cost-effective treatment in contrast to the expensive and potentially toxic antibiotic remedies".
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