Yunfeng Lu may be the hero of the modern world.
Lu, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of California in Los Angeles, has designed a treatment that could help people drink alcohol without getting a hangover. It could also help treat intoxication and overdose victims, Lu writes in the Conversation.
Lu, who is also a self-proclaimed wine enthusiast, worked with Cheng Ji, a professor and expert in liver diseases from Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, and Duo Xu, one of Lu’s graduate students, to develop an “antidote” to alcohol intoxication and hangovers.
The treatment has been tested on mice with successful results. Its formulation, “inspired by the body’s approach for breaking down alcohol,” uses three natural enzymes coated in an FDA-approved shell, which, when injected into the veins of intoxicated mice, arrived safely in the liver to digest alcohol.
The study showed that “the treatment decreased the blood alcohol level by 45 percent in just four hours compared to mice that didn’t receive any.”
Furthermore, Lu writes, “the blood concentration of acetaldehyde – a highly toxic compound that is carcinogenic, causes headaches and vomiting, makes people blush after drinking, and is produced during the normal alcohol metabolism – remained extremely low.”
Mice administered the drug “woke from their alcohol-induced slumber faster than their untreated counterparts – something all college students would appreciate,” he adds.
Clinical trials in humans could happen as soon as a year from now. Until then, we’ll take his advice and continue enjoying booze responsibly.