Future vaccine could help fight opioids - report

The CDC reports that at least 100,000 people died of a drug overdose in the United States between May 2020 and May 2021. 

The steep rise in opioid use here is a real danger to public health (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The steep rise in opioid use here is a real danger to public health
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Columbia University professor Sandra Comer said on Wednesday that she and her colleagues are currently testing a vaccine that could help fight the opioid epidemic by targeting oxycodone medication.

In an interview with CBS News, Comer said that the vaccine is being tested on volunteers with substance use disorder.

The Columbia professor also said that "the body will produce an antibody to that particular chemical structure" and that the antibody won't allow oxycodone to enter the brain. She added that the vaccine would provide a "safety net" for those who relapse.

Regarding opioid addiction, a jury found last month that the Israel-based drugmaker Teva had fueled the opioid epidemic in New York. Following the ruling, the company's shares fell more than seven percentage points.

Teva later released an official statement saying that the state and counties present "no evidence of medically unnecessary prescriptions, [or] suspicious or diverted orders."

The drug Naloxone sits on a table during a free Opioid Overdose Prevention Training class provided by Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, New York, US, April 5, 2018. (credit: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY)The drug Naloxone sits on a table during a free Opioid Overdose Prevention Training class provided by Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, New York, US, April 5, 2018. (credit: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY)

The CDC reports that a minimum of 100,000 people in the United States died of a drug overdose between May 2020 and May 2021. 

Reuters contributed to this report.