A researcher at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research has been awarded a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop a vaccine that would treat heroin addiction and protect against HIV.
Dr. Gary R. Matyas has been selected as the 2012 recipient of the NIDA Avant-Garde Award for Medications Development, Phys.Org reports. He will receive $1,000,000 per year for five years to support his research.
“This highly innovative dual-vaccine model would simultaneously address the intertwined epidemics of heroin abuse and HIV,” said NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. “The implications for public health are enormous.”
“Heroin use is strongly associated with a high risk of HIV infection and represents an increasingly important worldwide health problem,” Dr. Matyas said. “The possibility of creating a combination heroin-HIV vaccine provides an important opportunity to address both a unique treatment for heroin abuse as well as continuing the quest to develop an effective preventive HIV vaccine.”