December 19, 2022

Fentanyl Vaccine in Development

A research team led by the University of Houston has developed a vaccine that can prevent fentanyl from entering the brain, preventing euphoric effects, while not impacting the effect of other opioid medications.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, is a primary driver of opioid overdose deaths, with 2 milligrams likely to be fatal to the average person.

The vaccine recently completed initial testing with rats, and was found to create anti-fentanyl antibodies that bind to consumed fentanyl and prevent it from entering the brain, allowing fentanyl to be eliminated out of the body via the kidneys. Individuals would not feel the euphoric high of fentanyl, removing incentive to misuse or abuse the drug.

This vaccine did not cause any adverse side effects in the immunized rats, and plans are underway to start manufacturing clinical-grade vaccine in the coming months for human trials.

Additionally, this vaccine does not cross-react with other opioids, meaning a vaccinated person could still be treated for pain relief with other opioids.

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