Maggot therapy for the world

Maggot therapy is the application of living fly larvae to wounds that don’t heal, contain dead tissue, or are infected. Applied to the wound, maggots perform three important therapeutic functions as they:

REMOVE DEAD TISSUE

CONTROL INFECTION

PROMOTE WOUND HEALING

Maggot therapy is the only wound care therapy that provides all three of these therapeutic benefits in one low-tech treatment. Moreover, maggot therapy is affordable to patients in high- and low-resource healthcare settings alike. It can provide limb- and life-saving care in times of conflict, disaster, and in poverty where there are few healthcare workers and insufficient wound care supplies.

We want to give every patient access to maggot therapy no matter where. To do this we deliver the necessary supply chain innovations that ensure the production of high-quality medicinal maggots, their timely transport to the point of care, and the training for healthcare providers, even in the most compromised healthcare settings.

Our Work

Creating Hope in Conflict

Problem: The vast majority of casualties in conflicts are civilians and injuries from explosive weapons are common. Wounds in the conflict setting are often infected with bacteria resistant to commonly used antibiotics and effective antibiotics are hard to identify and/or access. Lack of infection control and surgical resources strain triage decision making and ongoing treatment of wounds. Pressure wounds in the austere care setting are also common. These can be difficult to treat, use up scarce resources and can result in death.

Solution: This project sought to address the need for wound care in compromised healthcare settings with three work packages: WP1) Development of maggot therapy treatment guidance and sensitisation resources for low-resource healthcare settings, WP2) Medicinal maggot production methods and production manuals so that conflict-affected communities can produce their own medicinal maggots with basic available resources, and WP3) a shipping container laboratory for the production of large numbers of high-quality medicinal maggots for healthcare settings such as field hospitals.

Disaster Medical Aid

Problem: Disasters are a constant threat in many parts of the world, whether it be earthquakes, tsunamis, storms, wildfires, or technological disasters such as petrochemical fires and explosions. Invariably, many more people get injured than killed and those that survive often suffer a long time from wounds that become infected and fail to heal.

Best practice wound care includes antibiotic treatment and surgical debridement prior to reconstruction and/or closure. In austere settings this treatment regimen is challenged, especially in mass casualty events. Available surgical capacity dictates triage decision-making.

Solution: With MedMagLabs point-of-care medicinal maggot production solutions first responders and aid organisations can treat wounds without requiring surgical expertise which means many more patients can be treated and many more limbs and lives saved. This is because maggot therapy controls and prevents infection and removes dead tissue. Thus, it keeps the patient in good health (given the circumstances) and prepares the wound for grafting or closure.

Low- and Middle-Income Country Wound Care

Problem: Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) struggle to establish and maintain effective healthcare systems. Even with development support and national health insurance schemes in place, healthcare remains expensive for ordinary citizens. A chronic wound like a diabetic ulcer can burden families with catastrophic healthcare expenditure. What makes matters worse, patients remain incapacitated and not able to contribute to the care and income of their family.

Solution: We have carefully studied the characteristics of actual and theoretical maggot therapy supply chains both in high- and low-resource settings. Our insights and new supply chain solutions allow us to provide LMIC-ready supply chain solutions, from production and distribution of medicinal maggots to clinical decision-making and training.

Rural and Remote Australia

Problem: Australia is a vast country with different socio-economic groups, geographic regions, and healthcare settings. While most Australians live along the coastal fringe and in larger towns and cities, there are rural and remote mining, farming, and Indigenous communities across the country that deserve the same level of care available to patients in larger population centres. Australia also has an ageing population with many Australians suffering from age-related and chronic diseases including diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, cancer and immobility – all result in a high prevalence of wounds. Poor public health and inadequate primary care in rural and remote communities further increase the risk of developing chronic wounds.

Solution: We are developing supply chain solutions to enable timely and cost-effective provision of maggot-assisted wound care in compromised healthcare settings. These innovations have also the capacity to address many of the non-metropolitan wound care challenges across Australia.

(C) The content on this page is Copyright (2021) MedMagLabs. (CC) Creative commons content used on this page includes: Banner image: Emma Leslie, MedMagLabs, CC BY | Injured man: Khalil-Hamra, flickr, CC0 1.0 | Earthquake rubble: US Air Force, Flickr, United States government, CC | LMIC nurse in clinic: AMISOM Public Information, Flickr, CC0 1.0 | Outback Australia: Frank Stadler, MedMagLabs, CC BY

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