A group of researchers at University of Houston He may have developed a “vaccine” that blocks the dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl from entering the brain.
The findings were published late last month by Journal of PharmaceuticsThey have been described as a potential game changer in tackling the pandemic, which has claimed thousands of American lives.
Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. A dose of just 2 milligrams — the size of two grains of rice — can be fatal.
The study’s lead author, Research Associate Professor Colin Hailey, said the vaccine “generates anti-fentanyl antibodies that bind to ingested fentanyl, preventing it from entering the brain and allowing it to be excreted through the kidneys.” ”
“So the person doesn’t feel euphoric and can ‘get back on the wagon’ to sobriety,” he said.
He added that anti-fentanyl antibodies are specific for that, and the fentanyl derivative did not react with other opioids such as morphine. This means that someone vaccinated for fentanyl can still be treated with other opioids.
Although opioid use disorder (OUD) is treatable, 80 percent of those who become dependent on opioids relapse, according to research.
Clinical studies on the vaccine did not cause side effects in the mice included in the vaccine. The research team will conduct clinical trials of the vaccine in humans in the coming months.