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Now scientists are planning for an annual or bi-annual jab that could prevent opioid addiction. Pixabay

The time spent alone and in isolation during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic led to an increase in opioid overdoses. Now scientists are planning for an annual or bi-annual jab that could prevent opioid addiction. The team led by University of Houston researchers aims to develop an adjuvant opioid use disorder vaccine. An adjuvant molecule boosts the immune system’s response to vaccines, a critical component for the effectiveness of anti-addiction vaccines.

“This could be a game-changer for addiction,” said Therese Kosten, Professor of psychology at the varsity. An anti-opioid vaccine would protect the brain and nervous system by stimulating the body to create powerful antibodies that target and bind to opioid molecules, preventing them from crossing the blood-brain barrier to reach the brain. By blocking opioids from the brain, the vaccine would reduce respiratory depression brought on by opioids when they reach the brain.


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The new vaccine will target fentanyl — a synthetic and very potent opioid. Fentanyl poses an especially difficult problem because it is often added to street drugs like cocaine, methamphetamines, and even counterfeit benzodiazepines like Xanax, which adds to the number of fentanyl overdoses, the researchers explained.


According to the American Medical Association, more than 40 states in the US are reporting increases in deaths from opioids. Pixabay

“Fentanyl is different than heroin or other opioids in the way that it stimulates the nervous system. It activates the same receptors in the brain as heroin or morphine but does so by a different mechanism, which makes drugs that can reverse a heroin overdose, like Narcan, almost ineffective against it,” Kosten noted.

ALSO READ: The Rise of Drug Addiction Among Youth

“We will also evaluate multi-dose strategies, followed by single-dose immunization, heterologous vaccination strategies, and the impact of waning immunity,” said Kosten. According to the American Medical Association, more than 40 states in the US are reporting increases in deaths from opioids. In June, a survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 13 percent of adult respondents in the US reported starting or increasing opioid use to deal with stress or emotions related to the pandemic. (IANS/JC)


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Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.

On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

Ravi Kumar will take on Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the last-four, while Punia will be up against David Morris Taylor of the USA.

Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.

Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.

(IANS/HP)