5 things to know about Scripps Research Institute's heroin and fentanyl vaccines

Researchers with the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., are working on vaccines for heroin and fentanyl addiction, according to Seeker.

These vaccines would theoretically combat addiction by making recipients immune to the effects of the drugs.

Here are five things to know.

1. Fentanyl and heroin related deaths are largely driving the sharp rise of overall drug overdose deaths in the U.S. If the death toll continues to climb at the current rate, more than 93,000 people would die of an opioid overdose in 2027, according to a worst-case scenario projection published by STAT.

2. The research institute's heroin vaccine barred monkeys from feeling the effects of the drug up to eight months after inoculation, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

3. The institute's fentanyl vaccine displayed similar results in mice, even after the animals were exposed to overdose quantities of the drugs, according to a study published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

4. The institute's ultimate goal is to combine the two vaccines together, as drug dealers are increasingly introducing fentanyl into the heroin supply for economic reasons as fentanyl is cheaper than heroin and up to 100 times more potent, according to Seeker.

5. The team behind the vaccines hopes to initiate human trials for the medications, although a timeline for these trials is unclear.

More articles on opioids: 
Baltimore rolls out text alert system to warn drug users of opioid overdose clusters 
Study: Opioid overdoses nearly double in 7 years 
HHS recruiting federal officials for pain management task force

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