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If only there were a vaccine against cigarette addiction. Or imagine fighting drug addiction by simply taking a shot to make you quit. Guess what? These vaccines are on the drawing board. While vaccination shots are available to combat diseases such as polio and smallpox, Dr. Kim D. Janda is now working on vaccines that could release people from the clutches of substance abuse.

A professor from Scripps Research Institute, Dr. Janda says, “We view this as an alternative or better way for some people. Just like with nicotine patches and the gum, all those things are just systems to get people off the drugs.”

The chemist has been involved in this project he considers his life’s work for over 25 years already. Just like any other vaccine, this one would shoot down the narcotic before it reaches the brain.

However, Dr. Janda’s drug addiction vaccine is not like the preventive vaccines we have for diseases such as mumps and measles. One has to be addicted to drugs before the vaccination would be administered. Rather, Dr. Janda’s vaccine would work like a “bad or cheap” drug. The effect would be like snorting “dirty coke” so that they would feel “like they were wasting their money.”

Dr. Janda relates that he also attempted making vaccines against alcohol and marijuana addiction. But ethanol molecules in alcohol just proved to be too tiny so that it can attach to a particular protein that causes immunity against abuse. On the other hand, the marijuana ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol simply hides too well and they had problems working with it.

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