SCIENTISTS have developed an anti-nicotine vaccine that could take the pleasure out of smoking a cigarette. A single dose of the vaccine was able to protect mice against nicotine addiction for life.
Further tests are needed before starting human trials, which would take several years, but Professor Ronald Crystal of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York said the early signs are good.
“We are very hopeful that this kind of vaccine strategy can finally help the millions of smokers who have tried to stop, exhausting all the methods on the market today, but find their nicotine addiction to be strong enough to overcome these current approaches,” Prof Cornell said.
The new vaccine contains a harmless virus that has been engineered to carry the genetic information to make anti-nicotine antibodies. The virus selectively infects liver cells, which then start to make a steady stream of the antibodies.
The antibodies hunt down any nicotine molecules in the bloodstream, neutralising them before they reached the brain, preventing a smoker from getting a nicotine hit.