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A Really Useful Vaccine

Well, potentially.

It’s a vaccine designed to immunize a person against the “high” that is induced by heroin. Taking the drug will no longer help the addict get their accustomed thrill and so, it is hoped, he or she will quit the habit relatively easily.

See, vaccines work; not all—but you’d think when reading the tirades by ignorant and medically untrained fools on the Internet that all vaccines were evil and didn’t work any way.

I’ve said many times that I am happy there is a rabies vaccine, while living in the world. For its development Louis Pasteur deserves credit and acclaim for all time. Those who rant against his supposed cupidity are themselves twisted, jealous and big time liars.

The idea of a vaccine, as Pasteur showed, is that if you “inoculate” (usually means injected but not necessarily) a person or any other immune-competent animal with an antigen substance, the body can often be persuaded to produce an antibody, which will destroy it.

So if you choose wisely, like a killed off form of a deadly pathogen, the body produces the antibody anyway, so when the live pathogen happens along, the body is ready armed with a known antibody in its armoury.

All well in theory; but not nearly so easy in life. But on the whole it’s a good strategy—a bit like homeopathy, actually, where you use a little of the bad stuff to teach the body to deal with it and survive.

In holistic medicine, a little goes a long way. The overall principle is that less is more!

The only trouble with vaccines is the filthy manufacturing practices, that sometime make the vaccine more dangerous than the disease. But that’s another story.

Back to the heroin vaccine…

It’s been produced at Scripps Research Institute, California and appears very effective. Scripps has already been working on vaccines to block addiction to tobacco and cocaine.

But the new heroin vaccine appears much more powerful. It targets both heroin and a chemical produced by its breakdown.

Addicted rats that were given the vaccine were 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.

The findings were released online in advance of print publication in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

The question remains: will it work in humans? We don’t know yet.

[SOURCE: The Scripps Research Institute, news release, July 20, 2011]

The post A Really Useful Vaccine appeared first on Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby.

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