SAN ANTONIO -- Could America's obesity epidemic be solved with a vaccine? A newly released study concluded that it could be possible.
The new experimental vaccine targets a hormone known to slow metabolism and cause weight gain. When tested on obese mice, studies showed they lost about 10 percent of their weight in just four days.
There are plenty of ways that people currently try to deal with obesity, including diets and pills -- even surgery.
"Right now, the most durable treatment for obesity is a surgical approach," said Dr. Richard Peterson with the UT Health and Science Center.
Peterson said obesity has become an epidemic in the United States, and many people just want that one quick option to help them obtain a slimmer physique.
"There have been plenty of clever ideas out there which haven't done so well and have failed," he said.
But what about a vaccine? Could one shot possibly reset the body's metabolism and prompt weight loss?
"It sounds like a novel idea," Peterson said.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, two types of vaccines have been tested on obese mice.
The results show their weight gain "slowed" even though they were still getting a high-fat diet.
"If we were able to get something like that to work, this obesity epidemic that we see in the United States and the world frankly would be abated," Peterson said.
There are still many factors that contribute to obesity and weight gain, but this could be the first spark that leads to something bigger, he said.
Those behind the study said more testing is needed. They next expect to use the vaccine on obese pigs and dogs.