Maggot Production and Maggot Therapy in Conflict Healthcare
by MedMagLabs, Griffith University School of Medicine
Civilians are increasingly targeted in current conflicts and represent the majority of casualties – often from explosive weapons. Mass casualty response and ongoing wound care are difficult because of shortages in medical supplies and personnel. Injury and poor hygiene in remote, disaster, or conflict-affected, or disaster settings can lead to antibiotic resistant infection and the loss of limbs and lives.
MedMagLabs established by a team from Griffith University is working on innovative solutions that will deliver maggot-assisted wound care to conflict-affected communities and other compromised healthcare settings. Maggot therapy was first introduced to modern medicine by William Baer, a US surgeon who witnessed in WW1 the beneficial properties of fly maggots when treating fallen soldiers who were accidentally colonized. In modern medicine, lab grown and disinfected live fly larvae are used to remove dead tissue, control infection, and promote wound healing. MedMagLabs will initially develop two solutions; a portable container laboratory for the mass production of medicinal maggots, and small-scale, do-it-yourself production labs that conflict-affected communities can build and run on their own with local resources. The project will also develop multi-lingual and highly illustrated education material, user manuals, and treatment instructions to build local capacity and ensure high quality medicinal maggot production and maggot therapy in conflict and other compromised healthcare settings.