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HomeHealth NewsResearchers develop cholesterol vaccine, linked to 18M fatalities

Researchers develop cholesterol vaccine, linked to 18M fatalities

  1. Affordable vaccine targets cholesterol
  2. Reduction in LDL levels
  3. Potential global impact

Within ten years, an affordable vaccine could reduce elevated cholesterol and the risk of diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

The University of New Mexico School of Medicine (UNM) discovered that the injection significantly reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in rodents and monkeys by approximately 30 percent. The researchers characterized this result as “promising.”

Vaccination against the cholesterol-raising protein PCSK9 would occur annually if the product were to reach pharmacies. The researchers further hypothesize that the price per dose could be below $100.

Following decades of ineffective public health messaging regarding weight-related conditions, scientific attention has shifted to pharmaceutical treatments. Already, Wegovy and the recently approved Zepbound have demonstrated remarkable efficacy in the treatment of obesity.

It is also a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which claims the lives of nearly 18 million individuals annually.

Lead researcher and Regents’ Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology at the University of New Mexico, Dr. Bryce Chackerian, stated, “We believe this vaccine has the potential to affect the entire world.” This is the case not only in the United States but globally, where cardiovascular disease is a substantial concern.

“We aim to administer a vaccine to humans within the following decade.”

High cholesterol is caused by an excess of lipids, which are fatty deposits, in the blood. This may prevent blood from reaching vital organs including the brain and heart through the arteries.

This increases the likelihood that the heart will weaken, thereby increasing the risk of a heart attack and cardiac disease. This is due to the increased workload on the heart. Meanwhile, oxygen deprivation in the brain increases the risk of suffering a stroke.

LDL cholesterol levels can be increased by fatty foods, smoking, imbibing, and inactivity; however, certain individuals with a familial predisposition may be genetically predisposed to this condition.

The protein PCSK9, which is synthesized in the liver and circulates in the bloodstream to elevate LDL (bad) cholesterol, is the target of the vaccine. As body production increases, so does LDL cholesterol.

Revolutionizing Cholesterol Treatment

The protein is inhibited through the injection of non-infectious virus particles that are imbued with minuscule fragments of PCSK9.

Dr. Chackerian stated, “It is merely the outermost layer of a virus, and it just so happens that we can use that outermost layer to create vaccines against a wide variety of pathogens.”

“Your immune system produces an exceptionally potent antibody response against this protein, which is responsible for regulating cholesterol levels,”

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The vaccine reduced LDL cholesterol in monkeys and rodents by as much as 30 percent. “That will correlate with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Chackerian stated.

Although comparable PCSK9-reducing injections are commercially available, their price ranges from $5,000 to $15,000 when not covered by insurance.

Due to the fact that the new vaccine is composed of microbes that are “relatively inexpensive,” Dr. Chackerian believes that each dose could cost less than $100. He stated, “We are considering tens of dollars per dose.”

The duration of effect for each dose is one year. It is unknown whether the vaccine is intended for individuals with pre-existing high cholesterol or whether it has the potential to benefit those who are at risk of developing the condition.

Following ten years of animal testing, the researchers are now seeking funding for human trials.

Dr. Chackerian stated, “We are interested in developing an alternative strategy that is less expensive and more widely applicable, not only in the United States but also in countries that lack the financial means to purchase these exorbitantly priced therapies.”

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