Up Next: Vaccines for Opioids?

There are several medications used to treat opioid use disorder—but about half of those who take them relapse within about 6 months.
 
Can a vaccine shore up defenses? Researchers at Columbia University and University of Minnesota are testing an experimental vaccine with 24 volunteer opioid users.
 
How it works: The vaccine generates antibodies to the common prescription opioid oxycodone, preventing it from entering the brain—the source of a high that can disrupt the breathing centers in the brain and prove deadly if a user overdoses.
 
In 2020, a record 87,000 Americans died of an opioid-related overdose, according to CDC estimates.
 
Similar vaccines for heroin and fentanyl are in the works.
 
Columbia University Irving Medical Center (news release)

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