Scientists creating potential fentanyl vaccine that would stop users from getting 'high'

The vaccine may begin phase 1 human trials in 2023.

Published: November 18, 2022 8:33am

Updated: November 18, 2022 9:30am

University of Houston scientists have developed a vaccine that has been able to stop fentanyl from getting to the brains of lab rats, the Daily Mail reports. 

Fentanyl is more potent than heroin and has been one of the main drugs that has resulted in record deaths from overdose and poisoning.

Scientists said the experimental vaccine stimulates T-cells in the immune system and creates antibodies which bind to fentanyl in the bloodstream.

The immune proteins then catch the drug after it goes into the body and stop it from spreading. That allows the drug to process in the kidney and get flushed from the body. 

The researchers told the Daily Mail that this vaccine could be used to help people suffering with opioid use disorder or even young people who experiment with certain kinds of drugs.

The vaccine may begin phase 1 human trials in 2023. 

"When an individual gets the vaccine, they get antibodies against fentanyl," Dr Colin Haile, lead researcher and professor at the University of Houston, told the Daily Mail. "The antibodies will bind to the drug and keep it from getting to the brain. If you prevent fentanyl from entering the brain you prevent it from producing euphoric effects and effects that lead to overdose deaths."

Fentanyl causes nearly 200 Americans a day dying as a result of an overdose. Researchers hope this shot will be able to prevent overdoses and save lives. 


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