You might not have guessed it, but the use of blue fly larvae and leech , and only these two animals, is approved by the FDA as recognized means in medical treatment?
These painless procedures are today alternatives that many specialists readily choose, like more "aggressive" and sometimes ultimately ineffective drug or surgical treatments.
But it took a year and a half for the FDA to define these little beings as medical devices and thus regulate their use.
These “repulsive” little animals that cleanse
The blue fly larva, the insect approved for use by the FDA, will act from outside its host. It therefore settles on the dead flesh, releases a digestive enzyme which will liquefy the necrotic tissue and will feed on the latter without touching the healthy tissue. This promotes healing of the wound, while cleaning it. The wound should still be covered with a bandage.
To feed, the leech attaches itself to the skin of its host via its suction cup and its three jaws and will subtly suck its blood. To do this, she will inject him with an anesthetic substance on the area so that the host does not feel or notice his presence. It also inoculates its host with an anticoagulant which will make the blood more fluid.
Practitioners have therefore long taken advantage of this natural capacity of the leech to empty certain wounds or swellings in which blood accumulates without circulating, a non-oxygenated part which could gradually lead to local necrosis.
The return of leeches and larvae
With the advent of medications and other treatments deemed to be more "healthy" and less repulsive , the care practiced by these little beings experienced a depreciation and were gradually abandoned … Until the bacteria began to evolve and develop resistance to drugs.
Thus, in the 80s, Dr. Ed Pechter, chief resident surgeon at the University of California, concerned about this problem, invited Ronald Sherman, a competent collaborator in entomology, to look into these old methods. And tests on patients with previously thought hopeless cases have proven successful.
In the end, the course leads in 2003 to the approval of the use of blue fly larvae, and leeches in 2004, by the FDA as recognized means of medical treatment.