A vaccine against heroin addiction could be ready for human use in just five years.
Mexico’s Health Secretary Salomon Chertorivski said the Government had patented the treatment after successfully testing it on addicted rats.
‘The next step is testing on humans,’ he told reporters on a visit to the border town Ciudad Juarez.
He said the breakthrough, made by scientists at the National Institute of Psychiatry (INP) had far-reaching 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 provoking an immune response that blocks heroin from entering the nervous system and attaching to the opioid receptors in the brain stem. This reduces 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.