Big Brains

Could We Vaccinate Against Opioid Addiction? With Sandra Comer And Marco Pravetoni

Episode Summary

The United States recently hit a grim milestone: More than 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses between May 2020 and April 2021. The majority of those deaths were due to synthetic opioids, which have become more widely available in recent years. While medical interventions exist, the rise of opioid addiction has been difficult to prevent, let alone cure. Now, there could be a new promising solution: a vaccine, developed by Prof. Marco Pravetoni of the University of Washington, who leads the Center for Medication Development for Substance Use Disorders. The vaccine is currently in the first phase of clinical trials, being led by Prof. Sandra Comer of Columbia University, who directs the university’s Opioid Laboratory. Together, Pravetoni and Comer hope to provide a new pathway toward recovery from opioid addiction.