London, April 21: The amount of time spent alone and alone during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic led to an increase in opioid overdoses. Now scientists are planning for an annual or twice-daily injection that could stop opioid addiction.
The team led by University of Houston researchers aims to develop an adjuvant opioid use disorder vaccine. An adjuvant molecule boosts the immune system’s response to vaccines, an essential component for the effectiveness of anti-addiction vaccines.
“This could be a game changer for addiction,” says Therese Kosten, Professor of psychology in the varsity.
An anti-opioid vaccine would protect the brain and nervous system by stimulating the body to create powerful antibodies that target and bind to opioid molecules, preventing them from crossing the blood-brain barrier to reach the brain. By blocking opioids from the brain, the vaccine would reduce respiratory depression caused by opioids when they reach the brain.
The new vaccine will target fentanyl – a highly synthetic and potent opioid. Fentanyl poses a particularly difficult problem because it is often added to street drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and even fake benzodiazepines such as Xanax, which add to the amount of fentanyl overdoses, the researchers explained.
“Fentanyl is different from heroin or other opioids in the way it stimulates the nervous system. It activates the same receptors in the brain as heroin or morphine but does so through a different mechanism, which makes drugs that can reverse a heroin overdose, such as Narcan, almost ineffective against it, ”Kosten noted .
“We will also evaluate multi-dose strategies, followed by single dose immunization, heterologous vaccination strategies, and the effect of immune immunity,” said Kosten.
According to the American Medical Association, more than 40 provinces in the US report an increase in deaths due to opioids. In June, a survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 13 percent of adult responders in the US reported starting or increasing opioid use to deal with stress or emotions associated with ‘ the pandemic (IANS)