Science

Heroin Vaccine May Be Available By 2019

By Duna Bil , Jan 07, 2017 12:06 PM EST
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US teen drug overdose deaths have increased by 19% after years of decline

The deadly rise of the heroin epidemic have urged scientists to work more closely on developing a heroin vaccine. Scientists are optimistic they can get it to human trials in two years.

As reported earlier, deaths caused by heroin overdose is tagged as the number one drug problem in the U.S. next only to fentanyl and cocaine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that deaths related to heroin went up to an unprecedented 21 percent. The new finding have pushed health officials to think of novel solutions for the problem including using heroin vaccine.

The vaccine works by attacking heroin molecules before they get the chance to reach the neuroreceptors in the brain. This blocks the effects of getting high or even the deadly result of the drug.

According to The Daily Beast, the idea of using vaccines to control drug abuse have around since the 1970s. Chemist Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute in California explains that the idea was thrown out with the development of methadone as it substituted the pain relieving effect of illegal drugs.

Janda, who is currently working on a heroin vaccine, brought back the fashion in the 1990s. He is also developing vaccines for cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone, which are classified as opioids and also in the list of dangerous drugs.

Together with other scientists, Janda says that unlike before, more pharmaceutical companies are interested in financially backing these drug vaccines. If they can get $3 million to $5 million for research and experiments, they may be able to get the vaccines to test humans within two years.

Currently, the vaccines are working effectively on monkeys and rodents. The animal subjects are injected with the vaccine, then they are given heroin. They show no responses of getting high after being exposed to the drug, the Philly reports.

Realistically. the promising results of the heroin vaccine may still be not enough to combat the drug crisis but it provides relief to those suffering drug addiction.

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