Scientists believe they’ve created a vaccine that blocks fentanyl from entering the brain and stopping users from getting high — a discovery hailed as a “game changer” in the fight against the opioid overdose epidemic.
In a test on mice, the vaccine produced high levels of anti-fentanyl antibodies that stuck to the deadly synthetic opioid, a study found. It was published in the Journal of Pharmaceutics.
This prevented the drug from being “removed from the body through the kidneys rather than entering the brain.” said lead author Colin Haley University of Houston Drug Discovery Institute.
“So the person doesn’t feel happy and goes back to the cart,” Haile said, adding that “it can have a huge impact on a serious problem that has been plaguing society for years.”
Fentanyl up to 50 times more than heroinAnd a dose of only 2 milligrams – the size of two grains of rice – can cause death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionLast year, more than 71,000 Americans died of fentanyl overdoses — nearly 195 a day — by far the largest cause of a total of 107,622 fatal overdoses.
Preclinical results of the vaccine fentanyl “demonstrate neutral efficacy,” which “for [overuse] And overdose in humans, “in the study.
Therese Kosten, another University of Texas professor involved in the study, called it a “game changer.”
“Fentanyl use and overdose is a unique medical challenge that is not adequately addressed by current medicine,” Kosten said.
Currently used treatments are short-lived and require large doses, Costen said, and the vaccine effectively acts as a “relapse prevention agent,” according to the study.
The team plans to begin manufacturing clinical-grade vaccines in the coming months.
The researchers found that the vaccine did not cause any side effects in the mice, and the positive fentanyl-blocking results were obtained at a low and safe dose.
They also “expect fewer side effects in clinical trials” because the main components are already widely used and tested.
They also found that the antibodies were specific to fentanyl, meaning that “the vaccinated person could still be treated with other opioids for pain relief,” Haile said.