Alcoholism Vaccine Delivers a 'Hangover of Epic Proportions'
By Fiona Keating | February 4, 2013 2:52 AM EST
An injection that practically eliminates alcohol cravings could help reduce the 2.5 million booze-related deaths each year.
"The vaccine delivers an instant hangover of epic proportions," said Dr Juan Asenjo at the University of Chile in Santiago, where the jab is being developed.
"If a patient takes one sip of alcohol after the injection, those typical hangover symptoms, such as rapid pulse rate, sweating and nausea, are magnified to the point where the mere idea of another drink is repellent."
In early trials, it has reduced alcohol intake by more than 90 percent in subjects - and completely in a number of cases.
The shot, which cannot be reversed, is likely to remain effective for about six months and works by speeding up the hangover process. It sends a biochemical message to the liver to prevent it from processing alcohol.
When a person who has had the vaccine tries to drink alcohol, they will immediately feel severe nausea.
The purpose of the jab is to get alcoholics to associate drinking with deeply unpleasant sensations such as a splitting headache.
Preclinical trials on mice to establish the correct dosage begin next month.
Researchers hope to begin human trials in November.
Dr Asenjo, director of the Institute for Cell Dynamics and Biotechnology at the Universidad de Chile, said the vaccine is not a cure-all, but could provide an important first step.
"People who end up alcoholic have a social problem; a personality problem because they're shy, whatever, and then they are depressed, so it's not so simple," he told the Santiago Times.
"But if we can solve the chemical, the basic part of the problem, I think it could help quite a bit.
"If it works, it's going to have a worldwide impact, but with many vaccines one has to test them carefully. I think the chances that this one will work are quite high."
The idea for the vaccine came from the Far East, said Dr Asenjo, where up to 20 percent of Japanese, Chinese or Koreans have a mutation which inhibits the breakdown of alcohol in their bodies.
The research findings are encouraging but many medical organisations feel the medications still fall short of being a complete cure. Put simply, there is no alcoholism pill - apart from quitting drinking completely.
Drugs to combat alcoholism
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Gennady Golovkin Next Fight Options: Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto Or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
- NFL MNF: Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Houston Texans 23 [PHOTOS]
- 2014 MLB World Series Game 1: San Francisco Giants 7, Kansas City Royals 1 [PHOTOS]
- 2014 MLB World Series - Game 2: Kansas City Royals 7, San Francisco Giants 2 [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- WHO Races to Release Ebola Serum in 2 Weeks, Vaccines in January
- Canadian Ebola Drug: Tekmira Firm Starts Limited Manufacturing of Vaccine, Available By December; Shares Up
- Final 2014 Solar Eclipse: When And How To Safely View It Plus Where To Watch Online Via Live Stream
- Britons Advised to Brace for Strong Hurricane Gonzalo Bearing Winds Up to 75mph; Affects Flights, Train Services
- MH370 Search Update: Australian Scientist Has Reportedly Found A Solution To The Mystery Of Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet
- Virginia Woman Who Posted Naked Image Of Ex-BF’s New Partner 1st Person Charged Under Revenge Porn Law
- No Mercy: ISIS, Father Stones to Death Daughter for Alleged Adultery
- iOS 8 Jailbreak Release Date is Doomed as Team Evad3rs Opts Out, Pangu Hits Snag – Report
- Google Nexus 6 vs. iPhone 5S: 4 Important Things to Consider Before Switching to Android Lollipop
- Swedish Military Spots ‘Russian Submarine’ Off Stockholm Coast, An Alarming ‘Security Game Changer’
- Canada Raises National Terror Alert Level after Suspected Jihadist Runs Over Soldier
- Galaxy Note 4: Best Big-Screen Phone, Says Samsung; Analysts Believe Note 4 Unlikely To Beat iPhone 6 Plus [Watch Video]