Mexico is in the throes of unprecedented drug-related violence. Now researchers at the country’s National Institute of Psychiatry say they’ve had a breakthrough with a vaccine that could curb addiction to one of the world’s most dangerous substances — heroin.
The vaccine makes the body resistant to the effects of heroin, so users would no longer get a rush of pleasure when they use the drug. It’s already been patented in the United States, and tests with mice have been successful.
During the experiments, mice who’d been given the vaccine and had access to heroin deposits showed a major drop in consumption, providing hope the vaccine would work just as well on humans. Trials are in the works.
“It would be a vaccine for people who are serious addicts, who have not had success with other treatments and decide to use this application to get away from drugs,” the institute’s director, Maria Elena Medina told Reuters Health.
Kim Janda, a scientist working on his own narcotics vaccines at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, said that although the Mexican vaccine could work, it might be too general and neutralize the effects of opioids other than heroin.