Nov 17, 2022
UH researchers find potential breakthrough vaccine against fentanyl Transcript
The University of Houston announced a breakthrough that could be a life-saving tool against the opioid epidemic, a fentanyl vaccine. Read the transcript here.
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Speaker 1 (00:00):
According to the CDC, there were 2,674 opioid overdose deaths in Texas in June of this year.
Speaker 2 (00:08):
Most of those deaths were caused by synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and now there’s new hope for families who don’t want their loved one to become a statistic. A team of researchers at the University of Houston says they’ve developed a vaccine that can stop someone from getting high on fentanyl.
Speaker 1 (00:24):
ABC13’s Briana Conner spoke to the lead researcher about how it works. New at 10. Briana?
Briana Conner (00:32):
Well, experts say this vaccine has the potential to be a game changer in the fight against fentanyl poisoning and overdose deaths, and it was developed inside of a lab right here at the University of Houston.
After five years of testing and research, the University of Houston is announcing a breakthrough that could be a powerful lifesaving tool against the opioid epidemic. A vaccine that stops fentanyl from getting into the brain.
Dr. Colin Haile (00:58):
If the drug does not get into the brain, there are no effects. There are no euphoric effects and there are no lethal effects as well.
Briana Conner (01:08):
Lead researcher, Dr. Colin Haile says the vaccine could protect people inadvertently exposed to Fentanyl, but he designed it for people who are addicted to it and want to quit using. These are the type of patients that wind up at treatment centers hoping to avoid a relapse. Philip Van Gilder says he sees their struggle firsthand.
Philip Van Gilder (01:27):
And they say to you, “I actually don’t use heroin. I specifically buy fentanyl.”
Briana Conner (01:34):
The number of people dying from it is also rising. In Harris County, the Institute of Forensic Science says Fentanyl deaths went up 340% from 2019 to 2021, creating an urgency to solve this problem.
Philip Van Gilder (01:49):
The fact that they’re doing research to find these things gives us hope because we got to do something. What we’re doing today is not working.
Dr. Colin Haile (01:59):
We feel that this would work.
Briana Conner (02:01):
Dr. Haile says they still need to do toxicology studies on the vaccine and then get FDA approval for human trials. If everything goes according to plan, the three-dose shots could hit the market in three to four years.
Dr. Colin Haile (02:14):
Every time I think about it, I get even more motivated.
Briana Conner (02:17):
I’m Briana Conner, ABC13 Eyewitness News.