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Antibiotic developed from maggots

Scientists have developed a new antibiotic derived from maggots that can be used to treat wounds and combat MRSA, E coli and Clostridium difficile.

The new treatment, Seraticin, has been developed by scientists at the University of Swansea

They now hope to turn the maggot secretions of the common green bottle fly into a treatment that can be injected, swallowed as a pill or used as 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 tissues.

Tests have shown Seraticin to be effective against up to 12 different strains of the superbug MRSA, as well as the food poisoning bacterium E coli and C difficile.

Between 2002 and 2006, more than 6,000 deaths in England and Wales involved MRSA and 15,683 deaths involved C difficile.

Dr Yolande Harley, from the charity Action Medical Research which funded the research, said: "The discovery of a potential new antibiotic is an exciting advance. It could mean a possible novel treatment for people with chronic wounds that are infected with MRSA or other bugs.

"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."

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University of Swansea