Chilean researchers plan to start human trials an alcohol vaccine in India later this year.
The aim of the hangover-inducing drug is to help cure alcoholism, according to Dr Juan Asenjo of the Institute for Cell Dynamics and Biotechnology at Universidad de Chile.
“People who end up alcoholic have a social problem; a personality problem because they’re shy, whatever, and then they are depressed, so it’s not so simple,” Asenjo told the Santiago Times.
“But if we can solve the chemical, the basic part of the problem, I think it could help quite a bit.
“If it works, it’s going to have a worldwide impact, but with many vaccines one has to test them carefully. I think the chances that this one will work are quite high.”
Pre-clinical trials on mice will be conducted in February and, if all goes well, human trials of the vaccine will begin in November.
If the tests are successful, the vaccine could be available in two years.
The vaccine produces “an immediate and heavy hangover” if the person consumes alcohol, Pharmabiz.com reported.
It works by blocking a gene that breaks down alcohol in the body.
“If a candidate who is vaccinated tries to drink alcohol will immediately experience severe nausea, accelerated heartbeat, and general discomfort,” Pharmabiz.com reported.
The vaccine, which cannot be reversed, would be effective for six to 12 months, the Santiago Times reported.
As for India ...
India, where the trial will take place, has had a complex relationship with alcohol since the days of Mohandas K. "Mahatma" Gandhi, who preached abstention, explains GlobalPost's senior correspodent in New Delhi, Jason Overdorf.
Gandhi's home state of Gujarat is today dry, and temperance movements periodically crop up around the country, even as the youth embrace a more MTV attitude toward the hard stuff.
But the cost of alcoholism is perhaps more serious in India than in wealthier countries, Overdorf adds.
According to the Indian Alcohol Policy Alliance, per capita consumption of alcohol has more than doubled since the 1970s, even though nearly 90 percent of Indians are teetotalers. That means the Indians who drink, drink a lot. Among the poor, booze can account for as much as 45 percent of household spending. And alcohol is a factor in 85 percent of cases of domestic violence.