With growing concern over the number of obese people already some would see it wise to find a way to create a vaccine to reduce obesity. Though if it has gotten to this point have we already let the problem get to far?
A vaccine nicknamed the “flab jab” has gotten off to a promising start during its testing on mice. The vaccine could prove an alternative to surgery, strong drugs and heavy dieting. If the vaccine passes further tests on pigs and dogs it could continue into human testing.
The vaccine works by attacking the hormone that slows down the metabolism by stimulating the immune system. More specifically it causes the body to see somatostatin (a peptide protein working as a hormone that suppresses growth hormones and the metabolism), the vaccine causes the body to see somatostatin as a threat and generates antibodies to stop it working. By doing this the metabolism can work at a faster rate aiding weight loss. Furthermore no adverse effects have been seen on the growth hormones in the mice studies. In the tests on mice there was an observed drop in body weight of 10% in four days. Two different versions are being tested though both are able to sustain the 10% body weight drop with booster injections after 3 weeks.
Dr Keith Haffer who is in charge of the research said "This study demonstrates the possibility of treating obesity with vaccination. Although further studies are necessary to discover the long term implications of these vaccines, treatment of human obesity with vaccination could provide physicians with a drug and surgical-free option against the weight epidemic."
The need for such a solution is rising with research published by The Lancet medical journal warning that in Britain nearly half of the male population could be obese in 20 years, and for by 2030 four in every ten British women could be obese as well.
Every year around 30000 British people die from obesity related conditions and it is estimates that it is costing the NHS at a minimum £500 million a year, with a knock on effect to the economy at £2 billion every year.