Vaccines help our immune system defend against bacterial and viral infections, but soon they may help fight off a completely different type of illness: Heroin addiction. Drug addiction is usually characterized by craving, tolerance (the need for more drugs over time), and withdrawal.
Addictions are hard to break. Don't believe me? Try giving up coffee in the mornings or even just cutting back to one cup a day and let me know how that works for you. I betcha get a headache. Well heroin withdrawal feels much, much worse than coming off of caffeine and symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, pain, anxiety, and muscle spasms which some believe inspired the phrase "kicking the habit".
Staying away from heroin while wracked with withdrawal symptoms is one of the most brutal challenges in fighting addiction and the potential for relapse is high. Recently, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute announced the development of a clinically viable heroin vaccine.
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