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A team of scientists from Brazil has created a vaccine to combat cocaine addiction.
Americas Science & Health

A team of scientists from Brazil has created a vaccine to combat cocaine addiction.

A team of scientists from Brazil has created a vaccination aimed at combating cocaine addiction and its powerful derivative, crack. The vaccine works by blocking the effects of these drugs, aiding addicts in their journey towards recovery.

The medication, referred to as Calixcoca, was created by a group at Brazil’s Federal University of Minas Gerais. Initial experiments on animals yielded promising results and the medication is now ready for human trials.

If it is approved by regulatory authorities, the medication would be the initial vaccine utilized in combating cocaine dependency, according to research team leader and psychiatrist Frederico Garcia.

According to Garcia, the medication functions by stimulating the body to create antibodies that target cocaine, rendering it too large to enter the brain’s mesolimbic system, also known as the “reward center.” This is where cocaine typically triggers a surge of dopamine, resulting in feelings of pleasure.

Experiments indicate that the medication may also lower the chance of overdose by preventing cocaine molecules, attached to the antibodies created by the vaccine, from affecting the heart or arteries.

Experiments on pregnant rats showed that the antibodies can be transferred through breast milk, implying that the vaccine may also provide protection for breastfeeding infants.

Garcia warned that the vaccine is not a cure-all and emphasized its potential benefits for recovering addicts who are determined to avoid relapse after completing rehabilitation.

According to him, Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa will need to conduct clinical trials to determine the possible uses of the drug and identify any potential side effects or long-term effects on a patient’s health.

Last week, the team conducting the research was given a $530,000 grant for their efforts, which was provided by Eurofarma, a pharmaceutical company based in Brazil.

Agence France-Presse has contributed some information to this report.