Maggots as an alternative antibiotic?
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Maggots as an alternative antibiotic?

Maggots are a simple and ancient solution to cleaning wounds. They could also help fight AMR.

Summary: Used since antiquity for wound treatment, maggots are making a comeback. Whilst available on the NHS, there remains a reluctance to use maggot therapy (MT) despite plenty of research supporting its efficacy and cost effectiveness. The "yuck factor" needs to be overcome.

Why this is important: The use of MT can reduce the need for antibiotics as their own action helps to remove and prevent bacteria causing disease.

The big theme: Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a macro threat to the sustainability of the human race and other species. It is of a similar level to that of the worst impacts of climate change. It is important for investors as a source of risk to be understood but also offers potential areas for innovation and investment not just pharmacological with new antibiotic drugs, but also other ways of disrupting the pathogenic (disease causing) nature of microbes. These can be physical, behavioural and can be even be inspired by simple and ancient techniques. Another investment theme that this story highlights is the myriad of uses for insects in both healthcare and in agrifood systems.

The details

Summary of a story from Nursing Times

Maggot therapy (MT), where sterile maggots of the green-bottle fly are used to remove necrotic (dead), infected or soft and watery tissue (debridement) and to keep a wound clean. It is available on NHS prescription in the UK for wound management.

However, a study conducted by researchers from Swansea University and published in the Journal of Wound Care found that wound specialist nurses are more likely to use MT than non-wound nurse specialists. Almost one-third of the latter group said that the idea of MT "made their skin crawl." This suggests that more education is needed across the nursing curriculum.  

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