Mexican researchers develop cocaine vaccine

April 2, 2011 - 0:0

The National Institute of Psychiatry in Mexico (INP in Spanish) is developing a vaccine against cocaine. So far it has had very positive results in their tests, it even managed to block the effects of lethal doses of cocaine; José Angel Córdova, Secretary of Health, said Thursday.

Although this vaccine has only been tested in rats, Córdova said that it prevents the passage of the drug into the brain, which ""no longer causes any sensation"" or effect on the consumer.
""It is called a vaccine because it provokes an immune response in which the white cell or lymphocyte blocks the drug molecule, as occurs with a disease where a virus having been put inside a person produces antibodies that block the virus when it re-enters,"" said Córdova at a news conference.
According to the latest National Survey on Addictions of illegal drugs (marijuana, cocaine and its derivatives, heroin, methamphetamine, hallucinogens, inhalants and other drugs), conducted between 2002 and 2008, consumption in Mexico increased from 4.6% to 5.2% in the population between the ages of 12 and 65.
The survey shows that marijuana and cocaine are the preferred substances by the population. Marijuana use increased from 3.5% in 2002 to 4.2% in 2008. The consumption of cocaine doubled from 1.2% to 2.4%.
The IPN began its studies for a vaccine against cocaine more or less about 6 years ago. The goal of researchers is that their vaccine combats addiction to five drugs: cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, morphine and nicotine, as the secretary said. ""If that works we'll be on the other side but there is still five to 10 years for this to be in the market and for sale,"" he added.
He mentioned that some national health institutes in the U.S. have shown interest in the research they perform.
Jose Angel Cordova explained that the vaccine is ""so powerful and interesting,"" because in laboratory experiments they applied a ""triple lethal dose"" of cocaine to rats vaccinated who did not experience anything, not even changes in heart rate.
By contrast, the mice without the vaccine suffered from heart disorders leading to stroke, as normally occurs with drug overdoses in humans.
""This vaccine is really very promising. It is in the experimental stage, the animal one now almost complete, and we´ll start the testing in humans, which is a bit more complex,"" he said.
Mexico has substantially increased its budget on prevention of addictions, from 135 million pesos in 2006 to 400 million pesos in 2011.
(Source: Latin Daily Financial News)