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Interesting considerations regarding nanoparticle encapsulation of mRNA in covid vaccine

Posted
by guest1178273 guest1178273 (Member)

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use nanoparticle encapsulation to protect the mRNA enclosed in the vaccines until it can get into the immune system. There have been some concerns about the lipid nanoparticles containing components to which some people are reacting to with anaphylaxis, and other adverse reactions. Below is an excerpt of an article that discusses the lipid nanoparticle, and also a link to the article I found it in, which is interesting, as it also discusses the stability of the mRNA vaccine:

Lipid nanoparticles—where do they go and what do they do?

Quote

In a rapid response posted on bmj.com, JW Ulm, a gene therapy specialist who has published on tissue targeting of therapeutic vectors,13 raised concerns about the biodistribution of LNPs: “At present, relatively little has been reported on the tissue localisation of the LNPs used to encase the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-encoding messenger RNA, and it is vital to have more specific information on precisely where the liposomal nanoparticles are going after injection.”14

 

Edited by allnurses Admin Team
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nursej22, MSN, RN

Specializes in Public Health, TB. Has 36 years experience.

15 minutes ago, underpressure said:

 

In a rapid response posted on bmj.com, JW Ulm, a gene therapy specialist who has published on tissue targeting of therapeutic vectors,13 raised concerns about the biodistribution of LNPs: “At present, relatively little has been reported on the tissue localisation of the LNPs used to encase the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-encoding messenger RNA, and it is vital to have more specific information on precisely where the liposomal nanoparticles are going after injection.”14

 

The cited "rapid response" including the highlighted portion, is from an article published in December 2020 as a letter to the editor. This tells me this is an opinion, not peer-reviewed, and issued prior to the administration of millions of mRNA vaccines. 

I look forward to up to date evidence examining information about localization of microscopic amounts of lipid nano-particles. 

nursej22, MSN, RN

Specializes in Public Health, TB. Has 36 years experience.

I looked at the citations to view what evidence, if any, demonstrates "localization of lipid nano-particles" and found none. I responded to your post because I think many might read that your citation is from a medical journal and take it to mean that there was at least some evidence behind this claim. 

MunoRN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 10 years experience.

The use of lipid nanoparticles to protect the mRNA is not new, it's been in use for the last 30 years in other forms of mRNA therapeutics.

mRNA is extremely fragile, a significant amount of the mRNA in a vaccine dose won't still be intact by the time it gets into your arm, and much of what does make it into your arm intact will get destroyed before it can effectively interact with your immune system, the tiny fat layer (lipid nanoparticles) that covers it helps ensure enough of the mRNA is able to successfully do it's job.

The term "nanoparticle" has proven to be problematic even though "nano" just means small it seems to be interpreted as referring to villainous technology.  This appears to be at least part of the origin of the conspiracy theory that the vaccine contains tiny robots or computer chips.

Fact check: Lipid nanoparticles in a COVID-19 vaccine are there to transport RNA molecules | Reuters

8 minutes ago, MunoRN said:

The use of lipid nanoparticles to protect the mRNA is not new, it's been in use for the last 30 years in other forms of mRNA therapeutics.

mRNA is extremely fragile, a significant amount of the mRNA in a vaccine dose won't still be intact by the time it gets into your arm, and much of what does make it into your arm intact will get destroyed before it can effectively interact with your immune system, the tiny fat layer (lipid nanoparticles) that covers it helps ensure enough of the mRNA is able to successfully do it's job.

The term "nanoparticle" has proven to be problematic even though "nano" just means small it seems to be interpreted as referring to villainous technology.  This appears to be at least part of the origin of the conspiracy theory that the vaccine contains tiny robots or computer chips.

Fact check: Lipid nanoparticles in a COVID-19 vaccine are there to transport RNA molecules | Reuters

I've never said, nor do I believe, that there are tiny robots or computer chips in the vaccine. You may be surprised to hear this, but just because someone questions the efficacy and safety of a vaccine does not automatically mean A: that they are an antivaxxer, and B: that they think there are computer chips or robots in the vaccine. I personally think that assertion is ludicrous. You're very quick to put me in the conspiracy theorist box it seems. Thanks for the link to the fact check article. It doesn't pertain to my line of thinking, however. 

Yes, from what I've studied, mRNA is very fragile, hence the need for the nanoparticle to protect the integrity of the mRNA so it can do its job once it gets into our system to create an immune response. That's why it's reasonable to question a few things: Is the lipid nanoparticle able to maintain its integrity long enough for the mRNA to get where it needs to go, and are the components of the LNP causing adverse effects in people? I think these are reasonable things to consider. 

MunoRN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 10 years experience.

5 minutes ago, underpressure said:

I've never said, nor do I believe, that there are tiny robots or computer chips in the vaccine. You may be surprised to hear this, but just because someone questions the efficacy and safety of a vaccine does not automatically mean A: that they are an antivaxxer, and B: that they think there are computer chips or robots in the vaccine. I personally think that assertion is ludicrous. You're very quick to put me in the conspiracy theorist box it seems. Thanks for the link to the fact check article. It doesn't pertain to my line of thinking, however. 

Yes, from what I've studied, mRNA is very fragile, hence the need for the nanoparticle to protect the integrity of the mRNA so it can do its job once it gets into our system to create an immune response. That's why it's reasonable to question a few things: Is the lipid nanoparticle able to maintain its integrity long enough for the mRNA to get where it needs to go, and are the components of the LNP causing adverse effects in people? I think these are reasonable things to consider. 

I'm not sure where you're getting that I said you are making this claim.

macawake, MSN

Has 13 years experience.

15 minutes ago, underpressure said:

Yes, from what I've studied, mRNA is very fragile, hence the need for the nanoparticle to protect the integrity of the mRNA so it can do its job once it gets into our system to create an immune response. That's why it's reasonable to question a few things: Is the lipid nanoparticle able to maintain its integrity long enough for the mRNA to get where it needs to go

It does appear that the mRNA gets to where it needs to go. But were you seriously wondering if the mRNA vaccines are effective? In anticipation of your response, I need to clarify that I’m not being sarcastic. Either I’m not understanding your question or if I’ve understood it correctly, then I feel that the question is strange since we do have enough data to know that the vaccines do the job they’re supposed to. 

 


https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33901423/
 


https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa2101765

MunoRN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 10 years experience.

You presented the topic of lipid nanoparticle encapsulation, the most interesting thing I find about the topic is the connotation of the prefix "nano", which seems to suggest something nefarious to many.  

6 minutes ago, macawake said:

It does appear that the mRNA gets to where it needs to go. But were you seriously wondering if the mRNA vaccines are effective? In anticipation of your response, I need to clarify that I’m not being sarcastic. Either I’m not understanding your question or if I’ve understood it correctly, then I feel that the question is strange since we do have enough data to know that the vaccines do the job they’re supposed to. 

 


https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33901423/
 


https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa2101765

Thanks for the articles. I do believe that mRNA vaccines can be effective, absolutely, IF the mRNA is able to trigger the immune response effectively. I'm attaching another excerpt of a "letter to the editor" from the BMJ. (*not saying this is scientific proof, but does raise some questions):

At present, relatively little has been reported on the tissue localization of the LNPs used to encase the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-encoding messenger RNA, and it is vital to have more specific information on precisely where the liposomal nanoparticles are going after injection, both in concurrent animal studies and in the two ongoing mRNA vaccine human trials. This process can be commenced in straightforward fashion through cell culture and animal-based investigations, by supplying mRNA expressing a fluorophoric reporter gene (such as green fluorescent protein) delivered via the same LNP formulations as used in the two vaccine trials, and tracking its ingress into varied cells and tissues. The mRNA vaccines represent a remarkable and promising technology, with potential to expedite the development of immunization protocols for future epidemics, but this promise will evaporate if unanticipated safety issues and side effects emerge to weaken public trust in the new modality. Cellular and tissue localization data on the vaccines’ tissue tropisms, obtained and confirmed across multiple independent laboratories, would constitute a valuable step to reinforce public confidence in this regard.

toomuchbaloney

Has 43 years experience.

6 minutes ago, underpressure said:

Thanks for the articles. I do believe that mRNA vaccines can be effective, absolutely, IF the mRNA is able to trigger the immune response effectively. I'm attaching another excerpt of a "letter to the editor" from the BMJ. (*not saying this is scientific proof, but does raise some questions):

At present, relatively little has been reported on the tissue localization of the LNPs used to encase the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-encoding messenger RNA, and it is vital to have more specific information on precisely where the liposomal nanoparticles are going after injection, both in concurrent animal studies and in the two ongoing mRNA vaccine human trials. This process can be commenced in straightforward fashion through cell culture and animal-based investigations, by supplying mRNA expressing a fluorophoric reporter gene (such as green fluorescent protein) delivered via the same LNP formulations as used in the two vaccine trials, and tracking its ingress into varied cells and tissues. The mRNA vaccines represent a remarkable and promising technology, with potential to expedite the development of immunization protocols for future epidemics, but this promise will evaporate if unanticipated safety issues and side effects emerge to weaken public trust in the new modality. Cellular and tissue localization data on the vaccines’ tissue tropisms, obtained and confirmed across multiple independent laboratories, would constitute a valuable step to reinforce public confidence in this regard.

It sounds like you are looking for reasons to justify not vaccinating at this time.  

1 hour ago, MunoRN said:

You presented the topic of lipid nanoparticle encapsulation, the most interesting thing I find about the topic is the connotation of the prefix "nano", which seems to suggest something nefarious to many.  

"Lipid nanoparticle" (LNP) is the scientific word used in the article and in the scientific research. Not my term (I didn't say you said it was, just stating). Not sure why 'nano' suggests something nefarious, but that may just be your interpretation.

MunoRN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 10 years experience.

Just now, underpressure said:

"Lipid nanoparticle" (LNP) is the scientific word used in the article and in the scientific research. Not my term (I didn't say you said it was, just stating). Not sure why 'nano' suggests something nefarious, but that may just be your interpretation.

I didn't say or imply that it was a term you had invented.

I provided a link the topic of which was that it is not an uncommon interpretation.