According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths involving opioids increased from 70,000 in 2020 to 80,000 in 2021. Though there have been billions paid out to victims of the American opioid crisis due to misleading advertising and aggressive sales tactics, few steps have been taken to curb the effect. A recent SciTechDaily article discussed a new fentanyl vaccine that could be a game changer in the epidemic. The vaccine was developed at the University of Houston, and it essentially blocks the synthetic opioid from entering the brain and causing a high.
Though Opioid Use Disorder is treatable, it’s estimated that 80% of those affected suffer a relapse. But what if users can’t experience the payload from the drug? This is how the fentanyl vaccine could be an important agent for relapse prevention. In tests on rats, the vaccine caused no adverse side effects. Now the team is working to develop clinical-grade vaccines for human trials.