The vaccination is essentially able to create anti-fentanyl antibodies, which will bind to any consumed fentanyl– in turn preventing the drug’s entry into the brain and allowing it to be excreted from the body through the kidneys.
“Thus, the individual will not feel euphoric effects and can ‘get back on the wagon’ to sobriety,” Haile said.
Additionally, the vaccine was not found to cause any adverse side effects after it was tested on immunized rats via lab studies. So, the team hopes to begin manufacturing a clinical-grade vaccine over the coming months and begin human clinical trials.
Fentanyl is particularly dangerous because aside from some opioid users seeking it out, the drug is also often laced into other street drugs– including methamphetamine, cocaine, benzodiazepines such as Xanax, and other opioids. So, the synthetic drug is also contributing to death among people who do not normally use opioids– another avenue in which the team’s new vaccine could be instrumental.
“The anti-fentanyl antibodies were specific to fentanyl and a fentanyl derivative and did not cross-react with other opioids, such as morphine. This means a vaccinated person would still be able to be treated for pain relief with other opioids,” Haile explained.
The vaccine specifically contains an E. coli adjuvant known as dmLT. Adjuvant molecules boost the immune system response to vaccines– a key factor in anti-addition vaccine effectiveness.
To read the study’s complete findings, which have since been published in MDPI, visit the link here.
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