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Through all this talk of COVID’ and adverse reactions, I have usually avoided discussing the Lipid Nanoparticles (LNPs), mostly because I considered them to be a possible red herring.
The similarity in adverse reactions between Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, as well as some of their AEs appearing similar to symptoms of COVID mean that the LNPs may not be the main agent worth looking at- I am open to ideas that suggest otherwise.
And there have been a few people who have raised concerns about these LNPs as being possibly dangerous, and thus several people-including some within my comments section- have raised some concerns about whether these agents are just merely mRNA carriers or if they may be involved with other forms of toxicity.
First, we’ll take a look at one of these LNPs labeled SM-102, which has drawn a lot of attention and see what all the noise is about.
That’s SM-102 to you!
SM-102 has been a suspected agent of danger for over a year now with some people questioning its toxicity due to it being stored in chloroform. Although not much came from this discussion within the broader scope of COVID concerns, there was renewed interest when Dr. Jessica Rose brought it up in one of her recent Substack articles.
I thought it was a rather interesting post, and I certainly believe Dr. Rose is extremely intelligent and well-educated. However, I did feel that there were a few issues with her article and wanted to try and piece information together myself to find the missing context. Before proceeding further, please take a look at Dr. Rose’s post and get a gift of what the concerns are as I will be skipping over a few things mentioned in her post.
SM-102 is a cationic amine-based limit and it’s real (IUPAC) name is 8-[(2-hydroxyethyl)[6-oxo-6-(undecyloxy)hexyl]amino]-octanoic acid, 1-octylnonyl ester. Fortunately, for all of you this isn’t an Organic Chemistry class and therefore you don’t need to worry about the name.
What is important, though, is the nature of the nitrogen within this compound. Nitrogen is neutral with 3 bonds and 1 lone pair of electrons similar to the above image. However, that lone pair of electrons is able to pick up hydrogens, and doing so provides it with a positive (cationic) charge. This nitrogen, in particular, is called a tertiary amine because the nitrogen in question is bonded to 3 different carbons- more on that in another post.
So this molecule is considered “ionizable” as the cationic charge may be added or removed from the nitrogen by the addition of a bond to a free-floating hydrogen.
But moving on. This lipid comes from Cayman Chemical and is one of the agents used in Moderna’s LNP formulations.
Now, the concerns we must deal with are the possible toxicity of this SM-102, which points us to its Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
An SDS is a safety sheet that outlines any possible concerns on a compound including it’s flammability, toxicity, storage information, and how to properly clean up a spill with said agent. All compounds used in a lab or clinical setting must come with an MSDS and be easy to access to for everyone within the lab.
It’s here that a lot of concerns have been raised, as on first glance the SDS for SM-102 lists hazards such as SM-102 being a possible cancer-causing agent as well as being highly toxic:
It also lists this little NFPA rating, which is a fancy little diamond where every smaller diamond indicates a different hazard concern, with higher numbers indicating higher concerns. Blue lists toxicity and emphasizes concerns if the compound touches your skin or is inhaled. Red is flammability- compounds that will easily catch fire will be rated higher. Yellow is reactogenicity, and it indicates that care must be taken to not mix this agent with other agents or a possibly toxic compound may form.
For SM-102 the NFPA rating is below. As you can see, the concern here is the “2” in the blue diamond:
Now, the big concern here is that there’s something off about this SDS. For some, the presence of the cancer and “skull and crossbones” images means that something may be seriously wrong with this lipid.
However, there’s something a little off if we compare this NFPA rating to the above hazard sticker. Most notably, if this agent is considered flammable, why is the fire (Red) NFPA diamond rated as 0? Shouldn’t a highly flammable agent have a higher rating?
Something is not quite right here, but what would it be?
If we look at some fact checkers, they mention that some “antivaxxers” are concerned about this SM-102 being stored in chloroform and thus is toxic. However, as Dr. Rose pointed out (and is correct) the SDS for this agent doesn’t mention chloroform- it mentions ethanol.
Again, what’s going on here? Well, these fact checkers state that chloroform is used in the research agent while the ones used in these vaccines are stored in ethanol.
Maybe there’s something to these solvents that we should be looking at…
Chloroform or Ethanol? Let the SDS Speak for Itself
One thing I disagree with Dr. Rose’s assessment is the disregard for the chloroform as the compound in question with SM-102.
This isn’t quite right- an SDS is also indicative of all of the reagents being used, including any solvents. Solvents are what compounds are dissolved in. Here, the solvents in question are chloroform and ethanol. Considering that over 90% of the container is made up of either solvents, it would make sense that the SDS should then reflect the possible toxicity of these agents.
So let’s take a look at chloroform’s SDS. This one comes from Fisher Scientific, although chloroform is chloroform and thus there really should be no difference in the SDS.
If we take a look, something looks very familiar…
And if we look at the NFPA…
Hey! Something’s looking a little too fishy here. Why does SM-102’s SDS match that of chloroform? I thought it doesn’t have chloroform!
But these labels for chloroform are missing something important- no flammable label, and that makes sense for a Red diamond with a value of 0. But then why would SM-102 have a flammable hazard label when its NFPA diamond has a score of 0 for flammability?
If we are to believe that SM-102 is dissolved in ethanol, then surely ethanol may possibly be flammable, right?
Well, here’s an SDS for pure ethanol from VoluSol. Unfortunately, ethanol is one of those compounds that doesn’t get a fancy label, but bear with me on this.
If we look at the hazard label what do we see?
Ah, there’s that flammable hazard label! Who knew ethanol was flammable?
And if we look for that non-NFPA label what do we get?
Unfortunately we’ll need to use some imagination here, but remember that Health (3) goes in the Blue Diamond while Flammability (3) goes in the Red Diamond.
Well, apologies if that sounded a bit infantilizing, but what this tells us is that we should, as expected, at least have a high flammability number for ethanol, and considering that SM-102 should be soaked in ethanol we should expect a fairly high flammability score as well.
But that’s not what we see. What we see is that SM-102 is possibly carcinogenic, that it’s flammable, has a Health score of 2 and a Flammability score of 0 but is also stored in flammable ethanol. Makes sense right?
So what’s going on here?
Scooby-Dooing this Mystery
We have a lot of different pieces here, now we just need some deductive reasoning, and I will turn to these fact-checkers first for that.
I will say something heretical- I believe the fact checkers are partially correct on their reporting.
Now, before you all start getting pitchfork-happy let’s see why!
Fact checkers have mentioned that SM-102’s use as a research agent means that it should be stored in chloroform, which is possibly carcinogenic and fairly toxic. On that front, that would explain the strange glowing label of something radiating inside used above. But chloroform and SM-102 are not flammable, and therefore should not have a flammable label (as seen on the NFPA diamond). SM-102 is also indicated to not be stored in chloroform based on the SDS.
We also know that the fact checkers have mentioned that the SM-102 being used in these vaccines are actually stored in ethanol. The SDS for SM-102 mentions it’s stored in ethanol, and it also has the flammability hazard label, but the NFPA diamond is missing a red score.
Using a bit of deductive reasoning, what this tells me is that the SDS for SM-102 was- sloppily- changed to indicate that SM-102 is stored in ethanol and not chloroform, thus fitting the formulation used in the vaccines.
How do I know this? well, it would explain why the NFPA for chloroform was kept the same- clearly if SM-102 was stored in ethanol the SDS should reflect that. Apparently, it seems like those at Cayman Chemicals may have overlooked this important change and ended up leaving it the same as the original SDS.
It may explain why the flammable label was added but the cancer label was kept- again, someone may have overlooked the hazard labels.
Lastly, it appears that someone rushed through to change many parts labeled with chloroform to ethanol without doing much editing.
This may sound a bit far-fetched, so maybe I need a bit more evidence.
If we look at the dates that these fact checks came out, they appear to come out around May 2021. If we look at the SDS page for SM-102 we can see that the final edit occurred in September 2021:
There’s a bit of an assumption that is warranted here, but part of me suspects that Cayman Chemical was receiving some pressure to clarify their SDS for SM-102. From where is the pressure coming? I’m not sure, but it doesn’t appear to be coincidence that these edits came a few months after the fact check posts came out. I wouldn’t be surprised if these fact checkers put pressure on Cayman Chemical to clarify their SDS. Unfortunately, Cayman Chemical didn’t appear to do a good job in making sure that their SDS was up to par.
If we need some more evidence, we may be able to turn to a similar compound as that of SM-102.
Pfizer uses a similar looking compound named ALC-0315 shown below. The only difference is that SM-102 is a few carbon chains longer. ALC-0315 is also stored in ethanol:
If we look at the SDS for this compound we’ll see that this provides a much better picture:
This SDS makes a lot more sense, and SM-102 probably should look similar to this. We can also see that the SDS, on Cayman Chemical, was recently updated in March of 2022.
So what does all of this mean? Honestly, it may mean a whole lot of nothing. Considering that ALC-0315 is similar in structure to SM-102 and that ALC-0315 has been extensively used, we may be able to gauge SM-102’s toxicity off of ALC-0315. Cayman Chemical may be trying to hide something, but the solvent used would probably be the least worrying part. If Moderna orders SM-102 in chloroform they can conduct what’s called a solvent exchange which would change the solvent that carries these LNPs. For me, this seems more as if Cayman Chemical rushed to change their SDS over public perception and some shouting by a small group of people.
What’s more important, is that there appears to be a growing number of COVID dissidents who may be stoking unnecessary fear among the dissenting crowd, as if the pendulum has swung too much on our side. There’s nothing wrong with speculating, but we need to be careful that our speculations don’t veer off into territories to which we cannot pull people back from; that we instill ideas that lead to greater fear and paranoia than is warranted.
Maybe we will find out that SM-102 is actually toxic, but until then let’s keep our heads on right and stay rational.