Posted July 18, 2012
AN obesity vaccine that uses the immune system to help keep the body slim has been developed in the USA.
Dubbed the “flab jab”, the vaccine has shown promising early results in mouse studies. Scientists believe it could provide a new weapon against obesity.
The vaccine works by stimulating the immune system to attack a hormone that promotes slow metabolism and weight gain.
In tests, obese mice fed a high fat diet saw a 10% drop in body weight four days after receiving the jab.
Dr Keith Haffer, from Braasch Biotech in South Dakota, said: “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.”
Being obese is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) – a measurement relating height and weight – of 30 or more.
Research published last year in The Lancet showed that almost half of all British men could be obese within 20 years. The proportion of men meeting the clinical definition of obesity was predicted to rise from around 20% to between 41% and 48%. By 2030, four in 10 British women could be at obese weight levels, the research claimed.
Up to 30,000 Britons die prematurely every year from obesity- related conditions. It is estimated to cost the NHS about pound(s)500 million a year, and the economy more than pound(s)2 billion.
Further research will look at the jab’s effects in pigs and dogs before human trials.