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The meth vaccine being developed by The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) to counter the effects of meth abuse is in early stages of research at the moment. Initial tests show promising signs on rats and other animals.
About two years ago, Kim Janda, a professor of TSRI and his colleagues developed 6 potential meth vaccines. Each vaccine had a chemical cognate of the meth molecule which was linked to a larger antibody-provoking molecule.
Trials were first conducted on mice and later, on rats. Three mice were able to give a powerful antibody reaction. After testing on rats, the experts noticed that vaccine MH6 performed exceptionally well. MH6 was able to prevent two typical effects caused by meth, namely increased physical activity and losing the normal ability for regulating body temperature.
by this observation, the MH6 vaccine was studied further in more
depth and tested with a varied experimental set up to see if the
vaccine produced the same results. Amazingly enough, it did!
The experimentation also paved way from a valuable discovery. The vaccine was able to keep the drug out of the nervous system of the rats and stay only in the blood stream. This was the main cause for aiding the body to give a strong antibody response.
While this seems like a promising method to eliminate cocaine addiction, it remains to be seen how addicts will react to it. Addicts may try to consume copious amounts of the drug in order to adjust their bodies to it once more. The effects of such a move are still speculative. Researchers are still unsure whether such actions may defeat the cocaine vaccine.
Cocaine doubles the amount of dopamine in the brain, a chemical responsible for pleasure and happiness. It artificially produces dopamine and increases its level in the brain causing ecstatic feeling. Gradually, the brain becomes tolerant of cocaine and addicts do not feel the same pleasure as they initially felt. This makes them start taking more in shorter periods of time to achieve the same feeling, thus causing a cocaine addiction.
Heroin addiction is most common since it a quick acting drug. It immediately enters the pleasure centers of the brain triggering a state of euphoria and relaxation and eliminating the ability to perceive pain.