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Maggots used in new wonder drugs

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The secretions of maggots have been used to form the basis of a new antibiotic that can tackle MRSA, E coli and C difficile, researchers have said.

Seraticin is derived from the maggot of the common green bottle fly and scientists hope to turn it into a treatment that can be injected, swallowed or an ointment.

Placing maggots on wounds is an age-old method of fighting infection. The grubs secrete chemicals that clean wounds and kill bacteria, preventing the decay of body tissue.

Before the advent of antibiotics maggots were used extensively to treat injuries and have been known to save people’s limbs. Today, maggot therapy is a recognised treatment for ulcers that will not heal.

The new antibiotic, Seraticin, was developed by scientists at the University of Swansea in Wales.

Tests have shown it to be effective against up to 12 different strains of the superbug Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), as well as the food poisoning bacterium E coli and C difficile.

Dr Yolande Harley, from the charity Action Medical Research which funded the research, said: “By developing the pure antibiotic into a formula, such as a cream, it could reduce the contact patients need to have with live maggots to heal wounds. It could also offer a potential treatment, such as an injection or pill, for internal infections like C difficile.”

Copyright PA Business 2008

University of Swansea

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“Just don’t let in fall in the hands of those who treat conditions like decubitus of diabetic ulcers. Unless there is no risk of resistance.” – Hugh Gudde, Netherlands

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