SILVER SPRING - The federal government is pledging $5 million toward a military medical researcher's work on a dual vaccine to treat heroin addiction and prevent infection with the AIDS virus.
The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring announced the award Thursday from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health.
The award is an annual prize that recognizes innovative research. Gary Matyas will receive $1 million a year for five years to refine the vaccine and do advanced preclinical testing.
Medical researchers are already testing experimental vaccines to block addictive substances such as nicotine and cocaine from reaching the brain.
Proponents say this product would simultaneously address heroin abuse and the high risk of HIV infection among heroin users who inject the drug.