Chilean scientists are working on an alcohol “vaccine” that could help treat alcoholism by making drinkers feel hungover and awful from just a few sips of beer, liquor or wine. The drug, which is still in the trial phase, essentially turns off the liver’s ability to metabolize alcohol.
Developed by researchers at the University of Chile, the alcohol vaccine sidesteps the myriad social and psychological roots of alcohol problems and targets behavior and biology. Getting the vaccine would make recipients feel like crap after consuming any little amount of alcohol. We’re talking immediate hangover — nausea, aches, pains, rapid heartbeat.
One shot is designed to last between six and 12 months, during which time the effects can’t be reversed.
Clinical trials in mice are expected to start next month, with human testing starting in November 2013. If all goes well, the treatment could hit the market as soon as two years from now, Juan Asenjo, director of the Institute for Cell Dynamics and Biotechnology at Universidad de Chile, told the Santiago Times.