Extremely “Good Fats”: How Evonik Lipids Create Carriers for Effective Vaccinations

When we hear “lipids”, most of us think of fats, then probably about our diets. But lipids are so much more than fatty foods to avoid.

Modern science, including Evonik researchers, has been looking into and discovering how lipids can help develop better medical therapies and pharmaceuticals. In the world of mRNA vaccines, lipids are essential for the effective delivery of live-saving vaccines, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 jabs using Evonik’s specialty lipids, as well as applying them for the benefit of other applications. You may have a higher opinion of fats and lipids after you read this!

Lipids, an integral component for mRNA vaccines

We are all learning a lot about different treatments and prevention methods during the COVID-19 pandemic period, such as vaccines. Most of us know vaccines as weakened forms of a disease injected into our bodies to create an immune response so that we can fight that disease in its more serious form. This is not the case with mRNA vaccines, which uses newer, more advanced technology.

With mRNA vaccines, instead of a weakened form of the disease, scientists create tailored mRNA, or messenger ribonucleic acid, that “teaches” our body to create a “spike protein”. The spike protein is a harmless component of the COVID-19 virus, but it still should not be in our bodies. Thus, our immune system will recognize it as a foreign invader and fight by making antibodies, building our immunity.

For this type of vaccine to work, the mRNA needs to reach our cells safely to deliver the instructions to create the spike proteins. This is where the lipids come in. A lipid nanoparticle (LNP) protects the mRNA so that it reaches its target safely and strengthens our immune systems successfully.

Evonik joins the frontline fight against COVID-19

Evonik has been researching specialty chemical applications in healthcare for decades, including developing lipid formulations for the best pharmaceutical delivery mechanisms. This hard work has paid off as we are now able to contribute a key component in the fight against COVID-19 by partnering with BioNTech, which is manufacturing one of the main vaccines with pharmaceutical company Pfizer. The Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine joins the arsenal of frontline weapons against the pandemic, and Evonik is proud to be able to support this ground-breaking, life-saving endeavor.

How These “Good Fats” Can Do Even More

As Evonik’s LNP is doing its part in the world-wide response to COVID-19, we look forward to working on advancing the use of these “good fats” in other medical applications. The success of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine has inspired research and development for other cutting-edge therapies. Scientists and researchers around the world are enthusiastic about LNPs for other vaccines, such as for malaria and HIV, as well as for personalized medicine and targeted cancer treatments. Evonik stands ready to support and promote these innovations for a healthier world.