GPs around Britain will be able to offer patients a prescription of maggots to help heal wounds and avoid lengthy stays in hospital thanks to research at a south Wales hospital.
Studies at the Biosurgical Research Unit at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend showed just how effective sterile maggots can be when treating wounds.
The larvae have been used to treat infections for years. In the First World War, survivors put maggots in their wounds to devour the bacteria.
But only now has research proved just how effective they are, with wounds healing faster than with conventional medicine.
The sterile maggots are placed on the area of infection and begin by ridding it of any dead, infected tissue, then they kill off any bacteria which helps stimulate the wound to heal.
The revolutionary work using LarvE sterile maggots to treat infected wounds has already benefited an estimated 20,000 patients at 1,600 centres nationwide.
Researchers added that in many cases the treatment using green bottle maggots has helped patients avoid the need for surgery and even prevented amputation.
It is also claimed that the treatment is effective against antibiotic-resistant strains of micro-organisms such as the MRSA hospital super bugs.
Instead of going to hospital for specialised treatment it is hoped that patients will pick up a prescription for maggots from their GP and treat themselves in their own home.
Dr Steve Thomas, director of the unit said: “This initiative represents a major advance in the management of all types of chronic or infected wounds such as leg ulcers and diabetic ulcers.
“Making this treatment available to patients in their own homes can prevent the need for a protracted hospital stay and reduce the risk of individuals developing a hospital acquired infection.”