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Vaccine against heroin addiction comes closer to reality

London, Wed, 08 Feb 2012 ANI

London, Feb 8 (ANI): A breakthrough vaccine to end heroin addiction could be ready for human use in around five years, researchers say.


Mexico's Health Secretary Salomon Chertorivski revealed that the Government had patented the treatment after successfully testing it on addicted rats.


"The next step is testing on humans," the Daily Mail quoted Chertorivski as saying


He insisted that the breakthrough, made by scientists at the National Institute of Psychiatry (INP) had extensive implications.


"It is going to be a process that will still take at least five years work," he said.


"And it's not only heroin... that's what's been patented so far but we're advancing rapidly on cocaine and methamphetamines."


According to the Spanish-language newspaper Reforma, the vaccine works by stimulating an immune response that blocks heroin from entering the nervous system and attaching to the opioid receptors in the brain stem.


This diminishes the impact of the drug 'hit' that has a similar effect to a rush of endorphins.


Experiments on rats addicted to heroin found the cravings disappeared as a result because it reduced the desire to take continual doses.


"The vaccine will not be the solution to all addictions, but is one way to confront the problem, above all in the treatment field," Maria Elena Medina Mora, director of the INP, said.


'It is hoped that the vaccinated person will have a lower desire to consume the drug because the dose of the vaccine will block the pleasure of taking it.


"Obviously the drug user has to want to quit drugs and have other types of pyschiatric help," Mora added.


Heroin is an extremely addictive Class A drug and withdrawal symptoms are severe and include diarrhoea, vomiting, depression, pain sensitivity and fever. (ANI)


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