Covid and colloids


Scientific advisory board of HPC Today – TKS Publisher


All around the world the media have given extensive attention to the anti-Covid vaccines that begin to be deployed. Much has been said about the messenger RNA (mRNA) technology used by the first two that have hit the market (BNT162b2 from Pfizer/BioNTech and mRNA 1273 from Moderna). However, few commentators have recognized that mRNA would be useless if not coupled with a sophisticated system of excipients that protects it until it has reached the targets and can exert its therapeutical function. The formulation of the vaccines relies on the recently approved lipid nanoparticles (LPN) technology. Although characterized as “lipids” the four ingredients used are in reality colloidal chemicals with pronounced interfacial activity. Producers of specialty excipients and of surface active agents eyeing the value added effect chemicals markets begin to substantially invest in the production of these colloid chemicals, and it can be expected that they will foster the research for even more efficient products.

Since the outbreak of Covid 19 I made a point  to keep away from the subject. I have not enough knowledge of the interactions between surfactants and microorganisms and viruses to make sensible contributions. Better leave the stage to people more competent. 

I have changed my mind when my attention was attracted by a largely ignored feature of the vaccines developed or being developed to knock down the deadly virus. In the race among the four main types  under consideration, the quickest to produce significant results are the cutting-edge RNA and DNA technologies. These use genetically engineered RNA or DNA to produce a protein that safely causes an immune response.

But there is an issue: the messenger RNA (mRNA) which is at the core of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines quickly degrades in the body and can trigger untoward or dangerous reactions. To get the genetic material to its target, it must be protected, which is achieved by incapsulating the mRNA in lipid nanoparticles (LPN).

LPN are a novel pharmaceutical drug ...