Ever since it burst into the American drug scene, fentanyl has been a huge problem. From drug pushers using it to cut their product and increase profits, to people using the product directly, it has been a horrific crisis for the American public. Overdoses have been skyrocketing, and as a result not only are EMTs but law enforcement is carrying anti-overdose drugs like Naloxone as a part of their daily load out.
Currently, researchers from the University of Houston, Tulane University, and Baylor College of Medicine believe they have made a tremendous breakthrough in winning the fight against opioids with a “vaccine against fentanyl.”
This new study was conducted in mice, where the scientists administered the vaccine plus two booster doses to rats. Later, they gave fentanyl to the same rats. In the rats with the vaccine, the fentanyl did not break through the blood barrier of the brain and prevented the “high” associated with the drug, as well as the lethal results.
University of Houston Associate Professor Colin Haile led the study and explained what this means for addiction. “If the drug does not get into the brain, there are no effects. There are no euphoric effects, and there are no lethal effects as well… We feel that this would work. And it would have a dramatic effect on those who have opioid use disorder and want to quit and also to subvert these overdoses that we’re seeing everywhere. We still have ways to go. We’re close, but every time I think about it, I get even more motivated.”
As Haile explained, this is designed for those who have been persistent users of fentanyl but also has promising capabilities for those who inadvertently come in contact with the substance if further trials are successful. As the madman behind the wheel of the opioid crisis, fentanyl is the top substance for overdoses here in the US. With its frequent use in cocaine and heroin as a cutting agent, more people are being exposed to and addicted to it as a result.
In the laboratory trial, none of the rats showed any adverse side effects, which is remarkable for such a trial. Previous attempts at working on this with other routes have not proven successful, and it also shows potential promise in helping drug manufacturers make substances without the “high” people chase with opioids.
Tulane University School of Medicine researchers developed an adjuvant derived from E. coli called dmLT. This organism boosts the immune response to vaccines and is the cornerstone of the effectiveness of the new shot, per the University of Houston. Most importantly, the antibodies the body built up with this vaccine were specific to fentanyl and had no adverse effects of other opiates that could be used to help treat addicts like morphine.
Breakthroughs like this could spell the end of the opioid crisis here in America. While that on its own is a great thing, there is a side effect that the researchers aren’t concerned about and that is the impact this will have on the Mexican Cartels and the Chinese drug traffickers.
These two organizations have been flooding the American streets with high-end fentanyl for years and developing addictions in users from coast to coast. If people aren’t getting high from it, they won’t get addicted to fentanyl.
For the first time in years, vaccine research is doing things right, and it’s actually useful to the nation.