LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – More than 150 people die every day from overdoses of opioids including Fentanyl. A team of researchers is developing an anti-fentanyl vaccine.
Research Associate Professor Dr. Colin Haile at the University of Houston and a founding member of The Drug Discovery Institute, and a team of scientists have been working on vaccines against drug abuse for quite some time.
They are also working on an anti-cocaine vaccine, and an anti-methamphetamine vaccine, but when the opioid epidemic started ramping up five or six years ago, the funding for those vaccines was pulled and switched to opioids.
“What we have right now isn’t working, and we need a new treatment strategy and that’s where the anti-fentanyl vaccine comes into play,” Dr. Haile added.
The anti-fentanyl vaccine would be for people who have entered a detox facility. Those in need of it would take it under a doctor’s care.
If they have a set-back, this is what Dr. Haile described would happen, “If a vaccinated individual does relapse, they consume fentanyl then the antibodies will bind to fentanyl and prevent from getting into the brain and they will not feel any of the effects, that will allow them to get back on the wagon to sobriety.”
Giuseppe Mandell is the director of business development for the “There Is No Hero In Heroin Foundation” in Las Vegas. The foundation began after his own brother could not overcome his battle with opioids.
“My brother passed away from fentanyl, fentanyl poisoning, about a year and a half ago. That inspired me to do something more with purpose, create awareness, and advocacy treatment prevention,” Mandell said.
He shared that a vaccine such as that, can’t come soon enough.
The Department of Defense is helping fund the research for the anti-fentanyl vaccine.
“Fentanyl has been weaponized by certain countries, whether they have used it in military theater is unknown, but it has been used as a weapon,” Dr. Haile added.
He said he is also pushing for other applications of the anti-fentanyl vaccine; to protect our troops, first responders, and individuals who are inadvertently exposed to fentanyl.
The anti-fentanyl vaccine won’t be on the market for at least five more years but Dr.Haile added the individuals who take part in the clinical trials would certainly benefit.