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
- In Photos, Typhoon Rammasun Blasts the Philippines
- Ellen DeGeneres Caught Cheating with Mutual Friend Before Portia de Rossi’s Rehab – Reports [PHOTOS]
- Flight MH17 Attack: Russians Claim 'Putin A Terrorist,' Memorial at Dutch Embassy Overflows [PHOTOS]
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Vital Black Boxes Finally Land in Hands of Malaysian Authorities, Rebels Announce Ceasefire (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)
Join the Conversation
- HIV Cure: First Effective Cure to Have Long-Term Remission; 3 Factors to Check on Inactive Virus
- Coming Soon: AntiViral Gel in Condoms to Kill HIV Virus
- Melbourne Man Gives Up Sex For a Year; Donates £50,000 in Charity
- FDA Prioritises Review of ‘Abuse-Deterrent’ Painkiller
- Tree of 40 Fruit: A Tree That Produces 40 Fruits in New York
- Google Nexus 8 Release Date Soon Along with 2 More HTC Android Tablets – Reports
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update Rollout: 20 Nokia Lumia Phones Eligible and 13 New Features to be Added
- Three New Moto G Successors Spotted in FCC Document Dubbed Moto G2, Moto M and More --Reports
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Apps Leak Online, Five Fresh Features to Expect from the Android Smartphone
- Sony PlayStation 4 Outsells a Resurgent Xbox One in June
- Killer Xiaomi Mi4 at $369 Likely to Come With 5.0-Inch Display, Snapdragon 801 Processor, 3GB RAM and More