Thursday, 12 July 2012

Anti-tobacco virus

SciBlogs (US) reports that gene therapy for tobacco addiction may be around the corner. Code a virus to produce an antibody that neutralizes nicotine, inject, and there's no longer any buzz from smoking. Apparently the tests in mice have worked.

A couple of thoughts:

  • An injectable treatment available as a choice for smokers who wish to quit has to be good.
    • The availability of such a choice also makes more desirable a strategy of "I'll smoke 'till I'm 25, enjoy being cooler than other people, and then take the treatment before I do any long-term damage." Just as barriers to exit are barriers to entry, things that facilitate exit also facilitate entry in a rational addiction model. This doesn't bother me, but it might bother others. 
  • It's hard to imagine the vaccine being made mandatory. But what happens when some fanatic decides to build it into something that can be spread by sneezing? Lower vaccine distribution costs than injection. But egads.

1 comment:

  1. However once tobacco is finally prohibited by legislation how long do you think it might be before some well-meaning do-gooder decides that this form of treatment would be the appropriate response for addicts to break them of their nasty illegal habit? This could easily be mandated as part of their recovery regime/parole conditions.