Dr. Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services, says researchers are working on a vaccine for addiction. The latest suggestion for a vaccine comes from a government commission lead by NJ Governor Chris Christie tasked with suggesting ways to address the nation’s opioid epidemic. NPR reports that researchers have been working on vaccines for addictive drugs, including nicotine, cocaine and heroin for almost two decades.
Unlike vaccines for measles that are injected once or twice in a lifetime, an addiction vaccine would have to be administered multiple times per year. NPR reports that the strategy would only work in people who were actively in recovery.
Human trials could cost tens of millions of dollars and the NIH generally does not fund this kind of study and has not signaled a willingness to fund the effort to date. Researchers may rely on big Pharma for resources.
Kim Janda, a professor of chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute is optimistic that research could begin within 18 months on a vaccine that targets both heroin and fentanyl. “I think we need to look at other ways of treating opioid addiction,” he says,” and I think this can help.”
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Our Note: This insidious disease claimed more than 59 thousand deaths in 2016. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50. Narcotics abuse dramatically affects the user and their families. Families Anonymous is a terrific support group for loved ones.
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