• The study that will establish the efficacy of using maggots to clean wounds in three months
• Maggots could therefore emerge as one of the most effective method of removing dead tissue from the wounds
• The method cannot be used on wounds that are close to major blood vessels
Researchers in Kenya on Thursday said that they are currently conducting studies on how to use insect larvae to treat chronic wounds.
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) Researcher Phoebe Mukiria told journalists in Nairobi that they have identified the larvae of the green bottle fly as the best vehicle.
"We will complete the proof of principle study that will establish the efficacy of using maggots to clean wounds in three months," Mukiria said during the Kenya Science Congress.
The three-day event brought over 200 participants to discuss ways of integrating into daily lives. "Live maggots are introduced into the raw wound to feed on the dead tissue and so as to enable surgeons to conduct further medical procedures," she said.
She noted that the maggots take on average 10 days to clean the wounds. "On the other hand, the period for conventional methods vary but could take over four weeks to do the same," she said.
"The maggots could therefore emerge as one of the most effective method of removing dead tissue from the wounds. We have so far used the larvae on five patients who have shown positive results," she said.
The research is joint collaboration of the University of Nairobi, KARI, Slovakia based Comenius University and Tenwek Mission Hospital in Kenya.
The Research team attained government approval to conduct the investigations for one year. The insects could be used on patients with chronic disease such as diabetes and cancer. She added that wound care is expensive.
"By using the biological method, the only investment is the production of maggot, " she said. "However, the eggs which take a short time to hatch, have to be maintained in cool temperature for optimum results," she said.
According to Mukiria, the method cannot be used on wounds that are close to major blood vessels. She said that the procedure has already being successfully applied in other parts of the world. "In Europe, it is commonly used to treating animal pets," she said.
"Once the method is approved in Kenya, we will also extend the technology to animals," the KARI official said.