In a finding that could help addicts get rid of cocaine, American scientists have identified a bacteria which can reduce addictiveness and prevent deaths due to drug-overdose.

Scientists at Scripps Research Institute in California, using a mouse-model, found that the naturally-occurring bacterial enzyme Cocaine esterase -- CocE -- breaks down cocaine which reduces its addictive properties.

The bacteria was active in the body for a short-while but a more stable version double mutant bacterial version known as DM-CocE was more effective, lead author Friedbert Weiss writes in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

“These therapeutic approaches may therefore not be ’fail-safe’ for reducing cocaine intake by determined users but long-acting forms of CocE represent potentially valuable treatment approaches not only for the prevention of cocaine-induced toxicity but also for ongoing cocaine abuse in humans,” Weiss said.

As part of the trials, rats were trained to self-administer cocaine by pressing a button in their cage, mimicking the need for regular doses of the drug during addiction.

Rats treated with the double mutant form of CocE pressed the button to receive cocaine less often, suggesting that DM-CocE broke down the drug and dampened addiction, Telegraph reported.

More In: Health | Sci-Tech