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Researchers may have found a breakthrough vaccine for fentanyl, the drug at the center of the opioid crisis


A group of researchers has discovered a potential vaccine that blocks fentanyl from entering the brain.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50-100 times stronger than morphine, was introduced in the 60s as a therapy for pain management. However, opioid overdoses have increased dramatically in recent years. The number of deaths from synthetic opioids without methadone increased by more than 50% between 2019 and 2020. This is primarily due to the increased illicit manufacture of fentanyl. Fentanyl can be mixed with other illegal drugs to make them stronger and cheaper. As little as 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal, depending on a person’s size and tolerance. More than 150 people die every day from synthetic opioid overdoses.

A team at the University of Houston that developed a new vaccine says it could affect the effects of fentanyl on the brain, removing the euphoria it creates. pharmacy.

“We believe these findings could have a major impact on opioid misuse, a very serious problem that has plagued society for years. It produces anti-fentanyl antibodies that prevent fentanyl from entering the brain and allows it to be excreted out of the body via the kidneys. Colin Haile, lead author of the study and associate professor of psychology research at UH and the Texas Institute of Measurement, Evaluation and Statistics, said. (TIMES), university press releaseVaccines may help addicts quit drugs. According to the authors, it is estimated that about 80% of people who become dependent on drugs will relapse. And it doesn’t help that the drug is easily available and often included in other medicines.

“Fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat our country has ever encountered,” said Ann Milgram, administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, during this year’s National Fentanyl Awareness Day. “Fentanyl is everywhere. From metropolitan areas to rural America, no community is safe from this poison. We must spread the word to prevent deaths and poisoning from claiming the lives of more Americans every day.”

The study found that although the antibodies generated by the vaccine target fentanyl, they cannot minimize the effects of other drugs needed for potential pain control in patients.

“Anti-fentanyl antibodies were specific to fentanyl and fentanyl derivatives and did not cross-react with other opioids such as morphine. It means you can,” Haile said in the release.

It has limitations because of the research being done in rats. It can also help curb addiction in people who are dependent on opioids, but not in cases of, say, a sudden overdose. said it plans to.

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