Researchers Close to Human Trials for Vaccines to Prevent Fentanyl and Heroin Overdoses

Researchers Close to Human Trials for Vaccines to Prevent Fentanyl and Heroin Overdoses

Researchers at the University of Montana, in collaboration with their partners, are making significant progress towards human trials for vaccines that could help prevent fentanyl and heroin drug overdoses. These vaccines have the potential to protect individuals struggling with drug addiction or those who are at risk of accidental overdose.

According to the National Institutes of Health, there were over 106,000 reported drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2021, with approximately 71,000 of those deaths attributed to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. The alarming rise in these numbers highlights the urgent need for effective preventive measures against overdose fatalities.

Researcher Jay Evans announced that they are aiming to start testing the vaccines on humans in early 2024. The initial focus will be on developing a vaccine to target heroin, followed by a fentanyl vaccine shortly after in Phase I clinical trials. The ultimate goal is to create a combined multivalent vaccine that can effectively target both heroin and fentanyl.

Dr. Jay Evans is the director of the UM Center for Translational Medicine, which is spearheading the research and development of these vaccines. Inimmune, a corporate partner, is responsible for scaling up the vaccine components for manufacturing. It is located in MonTEC, the University of Montana’s business incubator based in Missoula.

The progress being made in the development of these vaccines brings hope for a future where individuals struggling with drug addiction can have an additional layer of protection against fatal overdoses. By targeting the specific opioids involved in these overdoses, these vaccines could potentially save countless lives and help combat the devastating impact of the opioid crisis.

– Fentanyl: A synthetic opioid that is significantly more potent than morphine and is often illegally manufactured and distributed, leading to a high risk of overdose.
– Heroin: An illegal opioid drug derived from morphine that is highly addictive and can have severe health consequences.

– University of Montana Center for Translational Medicine
– National Institutes of Health

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