Researchers say they're seeing promising results in animals from a vaccine designed to prevent a heroin high. The vaccine produces antibodies - a part of the immune system - that appear to prevent heroin from reaching the brain and producing euphoria, the study authors explained.
HIV vaccine and heroin vaccine combined?
Addicted rats that were given the vaccine were also less likely to self-administer more heroin, in contrast to the ones that did not get the vaccine (the "control" rats). All of the control rats continued pressing levers to get more heroin, the investigators found.
Since heroin abuse and addiction also help drive the spread of HIV through needle sharing, the researchers are now exploring whether it might be possible to combine an HIV vaccine (none is currently available) and a heroin vaccine into the same injection.