If all goes as planned in an upcoming human trial of a potential heroin vaccine, a new weapon may soon be available to combat heroin addiction in drug users.
After successful testing on mice, a group of Mexican scientists are preparing to test the vaccine on humans to see if it exhibits the same beneficial effects.
According to the Reuters report, the drug would make the body resistant to the effects of heroin. With the vaccine, heroin users could still shoot up or smoke the substance, but they would derive no pleasure from it, rendering the narcotic effectively useless.
"It would be a vaccine for people who are serious addicts, who have not had success with other treatments and decide to use this application to get away from drugs," Maria Elena Medina, director of Mexico's National Institute of Psychiatry, told Reuters.
The Scripps Research Institute in California, which has also seen success of its heroin vaccine in lab rats, is currently conducting human clinical trials for cocaine and nicotine vaccines, but not heroin.
The Mexican scientists, whose vaccine is patented in both Mexico and the U.S., will be the first to test a heroin vaccine in humans. The scientists are hopeful a breakthrough is on the horizon, as their vaccine appears promising.
Health Secretary Salomon Chertorivski earlier projected that the vaccine will not be ready for human use for five years. However, that estimate may be a conservative one now that country is set to begin human trials.