The advance could open the door to a new class of enzyme drugs, says Lu. Down the road, for example, he envisions an alcohol prophylactic or antidote that could be taken orally. Since alcohol metabolism naturally occurs in the liver, it would "almost be like having millions of liver cell units inside your stomach or in your intestine, helping you to digest alcohol," he says.
We're wondering what sort of social, behavioral and biological consequences might come with the introduction of an "alcohol antidote" that allows you to sober up at an accelerated rate. On one hand, it could help you get a better night's sleep; crawling into bed with a blood alcohol content in the range of 0.06 to 0.08 tends to exact a serious toll on your body during the second half of your normal sleep period, during what's called a "rebound effect." A sober pill, taken shortly before bedtime, could reduce the recommended 4-hour time window between your last drink and hitting the hay.
But it's also worth considering what effect such an alcohol antiserum might have on people's behavior. If sobriety were a pill and a short wait away, how might it affect your drinking habits? The potential for abuse is glaringly obvious.