Nanolipids in Vaccines: The Underestimated Danger?

fact finder

Status: 01/25/2022 10:51 a.m

The mRNA vaccines are causing new skepticism among part of the population: this time because of the auxiliary substances they contain. Experts consider this to be largely unjustified.

By Wulf Rohwedder,

To combat the corona pandemic, mRNA vaccines were used on a broad basis in humans for the first time, which triggered a lot of criticism: they have been insufficiently researched and possible risks have not yet been identified. Now mRNA-based vaccines are being attacked not because of the active ingredient, but because of the excipients they contain.

The so-called adjuvants are intended to enable the actual vaccine to get to its destination and help it achieve the desired effect. In the case of the mRNA vaccines, Lipid-Nanopartikel used: these encapsulate the actual active substance and make it easier for it to overcome the cell walls without being broken down in the process.

Not for human use?

A lawyer now claims that these substances should not be used in medicines. The alleged proof: For several laboratory suppliers, these are described as “for research only” (only for research purposes) or as “not for human use” (not for use on humans). However, there is a simple reason for this: the companies do not supply their products to drug manufacturers, but to laboratories – and have therefore not had them certified for pharmaceutical purposes. One of the companies mentioned therefore felt compelled to launch a appropriate clarification to publish.

potential for inflammation

However, there are also concerns about the nanolipids based on scientific research: researchers found that one of these preparations in mice triggers inflammation when injected into the body.

However, the lipid nanoparticles examined are not identical to the preparations used by BioNTech and Moderna in their mRNA vaccines, explains Gregor Fuhrmann, Chair of Pharmaceutical Biology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. Therefore, the results of the study must be considered independently. “I would be cautious about drawing conclusions about other vaccines. In addition, all of the research in this article was carried out on mice and the results cannot be extrapolated directly to humans.”

In addition, local inflammation can be desirable with a vaccination: substances have been added to vaccines for decades to boost the immune response, which can result in local inflammation. “Such local inflammation can help to attract more immune cells to the site of injection, which can lead to a better overall immune response against the vaccine,” Fuhrmann explains ARD fact finder.

Blood-brain barrier can hardly be crossed

Another potential side effect remains: certain nanolipids can apparently interact with cells in the blood-brain barrier, i.e. contribute to substances in the central nervous system to transport. “Positively charged macromolecules as well as lipids and polymers can interact with the negatively charged membrane of cells and destabilize them” – which could actually have this undesirable effect, explains Fuhrmann.

However, the lipids now under discussion are not always positively charged, but only in an acidic environment. In the blood, however, there is a neutral environment. “The lipids are then uncharged, also to reduce possible toxic effects.” In addition, the proportion of ionizable lipids in the vaccines is usually low, says Fuhrmann. “All in all, I don’t think it is likely that the blood-brain barrier will be crossed on a large scale.”

Viruses actually get into the brain

SARS-Cov-2 viruses can counteract this actually cross the blood-brain barrier – to an extent that can cause serious damage to health and possibly permanent damage. Scientists are still puzzled as to how this happens.

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