If this does actually pan out it could be the best thing to happen in a long time when it comes to dealing with heroin addiction, which has returned to being in vogue in recent years.
When it comes to trying to deal with heroin addiction in this fashion the problem has always been the way that the drug breaks down in the human body. It is that breakdown that is what actually gets people high but it means that a targeted approach won’t work.
Which is why these researches attacked the problem from another direction. Rather than a single drug to attack the “heroin high” they created what they call a “dynamic” vaccine which is in fact a cocktail of several different vaccines.
The idea is that each of the individual vaccines that make up the cocktail; or master vaccine, attacks each of the parts of the drug as it breaks down.
One injection helps your body to create antibodies to protect against heroin itself, the chemical that heroin degrades into (6-acetylmorphine or 6AM), and morphine. So far, this approach looks to be very effective: among a group of heroin-addicted rats, more than 50% of them showed absolutely no interest in heroin after receiving the vaccine.
Here is the video of the researcher at Scripps Research talking about the vaccine.