By Margarita Snegireva. Medicine have developed a vaccine that is currently in clinical trials that doesn’t fight what most consider to be a real illness or disease like cancer or AIDS. Rather, this vaccine stimulates the inoculated immune system to combat the illegal drug cocaine.
The scientists took cholera proteins and bound inactive cocaine molecules to the surface of the protein. After inoculation the body’s immune system is able to build antibodies against cocaine and blocks the drug from reaching the brain when ingested, thereby preventing it from producing the addicting high.
Dr. Tom Kosten, professor of psychiatry told the Houston Chronicle, “For people who have a desire to stop using, the vaccine should be very useful. At some point, most users will give in to temptation and relapse, but those for whom the vaccine is effective won't get high and will lose interest.”
Some argue that the vaccine would raise ethical issues surrounding who would get inoculated. Others see the vaccine as something everyone should get along with childhood vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella.
Previously cocaine addiction was treated with the help of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) combined with Motivational Therapy (MT) proven to be effective to treat drug and alcohol addictions. Cocaine vaccines are on trial that will stop desirable effects from the drug. The National Institutes of Health of US, particularly National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is researching modafinil, a narcolepsy drug and mild stimulant, as a potential cocaine treatment. Twelve-step programs such as Cocaine Anonymous (modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous) are claimed by participants to be helpful in achieving long-term abstinence; however, the 12 step based programs have no statistically-measurable effect and does not release any quantifiable measure of its success rates.
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