Vaccine breakthrough may help addicts in recovery
Underscoring the impact of the opioid crisis, the military is concerned with how the epidemic may be affecting the combat readiness of US troops. Officials at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research have been working on a vaccine to help break the cravings that addicts feel when they are going through withdrawal.
Researchers with the U.S. Military HIV Research Program at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) recently reported that an experimental heroin vaccine-induced antibodies that prevented the drug from crossing the blood-brain barrier in mice and rats. The vaccine was co-developed at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, which funded the preclinical research.
“By eliciting antibodies that bind with heroin in the blood, the vaccine aims to block the euphoria and addictive effects,” said Dr. Gary Matyas, Chief of Adjuvants and Formulations for the U.S. Military Research Program (MHRP), WRAIR. “We hope to give people a window so they can overcome their addiction.”
The study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, showed that the vaccine produced antibodies against other commonly misused opioids, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and codeine. The vaccine appeared to dampen the impact of heroin at a high-dose, which might indicate a potential to prevent overdose.
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