Researchers at University of Houston announced a breakthrough vaccine that could block the effects of fentanyl from reaching the brain, eliminating its ability to be fatal.
“We believe these findings could have a significant impact on a very serious problem that has plagued society for years – opioid abuse. Our vaccine is capable of generating anti-fentanyl antibodies that bind to fentanyl consumed and l ‘prevent entry into the brain,’ University of Houston associate professor of psychology Colin Haile said in a press release Tuesday.
Haile’s comments come after the university published a study on a potential fentanyl vaccinea welcome anecdote in the midst of a crisis that has claimed the lives of thousands of Americans.
The lead researcher said the vaccine was developed for people who are addicted to fentanyl and trying to quit smoking, noting that the vaccine can both eliminate the euphoric effect and the fatal effect of Drugs.
“The individual will not experience the euphoric effects and will be able to ‘get back on the train’ to sobriety,” Haile said.
The vaccine could also benefit people who are accidentally exposed to fentanyl, such as police and other first responders, who have reported overdoses after responding to fentanyl-related calls.
According to the press release, the vaccine caused no adverse side effects in rats in laboratory studies, soon opening the door to clinical trials in humans.
Haile said the vaccine is designed specifically for fentanyl, which means patients could still be treated for pain with other opioids after receiving the vaccine.
“Anti-fentanyl antibodies were specific to fentanyl and a fentanyl derivative and did not cross-react with other opioids, such as morphine. This means a vaccinated person could still be treated for pain relief with other opioids,” Haile said. .
Fentanyl has become one of the main driving forces in the United States opioid crisis in recent years, often added to other illicit drugs and potentially fatal in small doses.
Developing a vaccine specifically to target fentanyl helps address that problem, said Houston psychology professor Therese Kosten, who called the vaccine a “game changer.”
“Fentanyl use and overdose poses a particular therapeutic challenge that is not adequately addressed with current medications due to its pharmacodynamics and the management of acute overdose with the short-acting naloxone n is not effective enough because multiple doses of naloxone are often needed to reverse the fatal effects of fentanyl,” said Kosten, a senior author of the study.