By Arnold Kling
This article interested me, on many levels.
the new vaccines employ the body’s natural immune system in an innovative way. Instead of building antibodies to destroy germs as traditional vaccines do, they construct antibodies that lock onto nicotine and cocaine molecules, preventing them from reaching the brain.
…In the case of the obesity vaccine, antibodies attach to the hunger protein called ghrelin, preventing it from reaching the brain and stimulating appetite.
… In experiments with mice, the animals given the vaccine reduced their weight gain by 15 percent to 20 percent even though they ate as much as other mice that became obese. Researchers also found they burned off more fat, making them leaner.
Cytos also is in advanced stages of testing a nicotine vaccine. Earlier studies showed that 42 percent of smokers receiving the vaccine remained abstinent after a year, compared with 21 percent who got a placebo shot.
Lots of potential paternalistic uses for these vaccines. In fact, I wonder if there is a hormone that is associated with impulses toward paternalistic government. If we could just inject people with a vaccine against that hormone…
UPDATE: see this related post by David Friedman.