Can a New Groundbreaking Fentanyl Vaccine Block the Deadly Opioid From Causing Death?
By Clarence Walker
A research team led by the University of Houston(UH) has announced a groundbreaking vaccine capable to block the synthetic opioid fentanyl from entering a person's brain. Fentanyl triggers a powerful euphoric high, and depending on the amount of fentanyl used by a person it can easily cause death. The breakthough can also impact the nation's opioid epidemic by serving as a relapse prevention agent for addicts struggling to kick the opioid habit. "We believe these findings could have a significant impact on a very serious problem plaguing society for years," said study author Colin Haile, a research associate professor of psychology at the University of Houston and the Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation and Statistics. "Our vaccine is able to generate anti-fentanyl antibodies that bind to the consumed fentanyl and prevent it from entering the brain, allowing it to be eliminated out of the body via the kidneys. Thus, the individual will not feel the euphoric effects and can get back on the wagon to sobriety," Haile said in a University of Houston news release.
How the Vaccine Was Created and How It Tackle Other Opioid Abuse
Scientists created the vaccine using a derivative from E. coli bacteria, to help boost immune response to the vaccine. "The anti-fentanyl antibodies were specific to fentanyl and a fentanyl derivative, and did not cross-react with other opioids, such as morphine. That means a vaccinated person would still be able to be treated for pain relief with other opioids, Haile added. The study also points out the fact that people who doesn't use fentanyl but consume other drugs may occasionally suffer fentanyl overdose because the drug is often mixed with street drugs like meth, cocaine, fake benzodiazepines which is a Xanax, including other opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. "This new vaccine could be a "game-changer", said Therese Kosten, Director of the Developmental, Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience program at (UH).
Fentanyl Kills Over 150 People Daily in U.S.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine was previously utilized for pain management remedies during the 1960s. Yet, unfortunately, opioid overdoses increased dramatically over the last 10 years. For example, people's death caused by synthetic opioids, increased by 50 percent between 2019 and 2020, primarily due to massive increases of illicit manufacturing of fentanyl. Fentanyl users often mix the opioid with other illegal narcotics to make the potion more potent and cheaper. Only two milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal, depending on the person's body mass index(BMI)
Texas Governor Praises UH New Fentanyl Vaccine Study
Governor Greg Abbott praised the astounding achievement of researchers at the University of Houston for developing a great breakthrough to possibly save millions of lives from fentanyl poisoning. "Fentanyl remains the single deadliest drug threat our state and nation has ever encountered, and Texas continues leading the fight against this clandestine killer," said Governor Abbott. "I am proud to be at the University of Houston to celebrate the brilliant achievement of Dr. Colin Haile and his research team on creating a fentanyl vaccine. This incredible, groundbreaking new therapy has the potential to revolutionize how we combat fentanyl deaths in our communities and end the afflictions of addiction that burden so many innocent Texans and Americans across the country. I look forward to working alongside the University of Houston and Dr. Haile in Texas' continued efforts to save innocent lives from being lost to this deadly drug." During the press conference, Governor Abbott highlighted a variety of actions taken by the State of Texas to combat the growing national fentanyl crisis, including signing legislation into law that makes it a felony to make or distribute fentanyl, and launching the "One Pill Kills" campaign to raise awareness of this deadly drug across the state. The Governor also discussed plans to consider new laws this upcoming legislative session that would classify fentanyl deaths as a poisoning, allow charging an individual for murder if they distribute fentanyl or drugs laced with fentanyl that kill someone, and make NARCAN more readily available across the state for Texans exposed to fentanyl.
"Fentanyl use and overdose is a particular treatment challenge that is not adequately addressed with current medications because of its pharmacodynamics, and managing acute overdose with the short-acting naloxone is not appropriately effective as multiple doses of naloxone that are often needed to reverse fentanyl's fatal effects," said Therese Kosten.
Newsbreak Contributor Clarence Walker can be reached at email@example.com
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