New Vaccine Targets Fentanyl, May Offer Route Back To Sobriety

New Vaccine Targets Fentanyl, May Offer Route Back To Sobriety

Researchers at the University of Houston have developed a new vaccine for the dangerous drug fentanyl, which has killed thousands of Americans.

Illicit fentanyl, which is primarily smuggled into the United States from Mexico, is being mixed with other illicit drugs, then sold as powders, nasal sprays, or even pills looking like legitimate prescription drugs.

“Over 150 people die every day from overdoses of synthetic opioids including fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine,” SciTech Daily notes.

“Two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal depending on a person’s body size, tolerance and past usage,” the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) writes.

“Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered,” Anne Milgram, administrator of the DEA, has stated. “Fentanyl is everywhere. From large metropolitan areas to rural America, no community is safe from this poison. We must take every opportunity to spread the word to prevent fentanyl-related overdose death and poisonings from claiming scores of American lives every day.”

Roughly 80% of people who have become dependent on fentanyl suffer a relapse, estimates say. But the new discovery can act as a relapse prevention agent.

“Our vaccine is able to generate anti-fentanyl antibodies that bind to the consumed fentanyl and prevent it from entering the brain, allowing it to be eliminated out of the body via the kidneys,” lead author Colin Haile stated. “Thus, the individual will not feel the euphoric effects and can ‘get back on the wagon’ to sobriety.”

“These preclinical results demonstrate efficacy in neutralizing FEN’s effects and warrant further development as a potential therapeutic for OUD and overdose in humans,” the study claims, adding, “We expect minimal side effects in clinical trials because the two components of our formulation (CRM and dmLT) are already in other vaccines on the market or have been tested in multiple human clinical trials and shown to be safe and effective.”

No side effects were observed in the rats used in the study; the research team has plans to start manufacturing clinical-grade vaccine soon followed by clinical trials in humans .

Study co-author Therese Kosten added, “Fentanyl use and overdose is a particular treatment challenge that is not adequately addressed with current medications because of its pharmacodynamics and managing acute overdose with the short-acting naloxone is not appropriately effective as multiple doses of naloxone are often needed to reverse fentanyl’s fatal effects.”

America