Dr. Robert Malone invented the mRNA vaccines!

A popular claim online is that Dr. Robert Malone invented the mRNA vaccine technology in use today by Pfizer and Moderna. But is this true?

To save you time, the short answer is No. Many scientists were working on delivering and demonstrating transfection of RNA and DNA material into cells long before Dr. Malone. That said, science is always a collaborative effort in which everyone's input helps to deliver a breakthrough product. Though Dr. Malone's work was valuable, there was no one single defining effort by Dr. Malone that set him apart from his peers to justify a claim of inventing the mRNA vaccines full stop.

Public Screenshot of Dr. Malone's LinkedIn Profile, 09-07-2021
Public Screenshot of Dr. Malone's LinkedIn Profile, 09-07-2021

As you can see from Dr. Malone's recent LinkedIn profile, he is not actually claiming that he invented the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines in use today (Pfizer and Moderna), just that he has invented some mRNA and DNA vaccines. Dr. Malone does have patents related to mRNA and DNA delivery, yes, but this doesn't mean that he invented the mRNA technology (as a class of delivery) full stop.

Other Players

Many scientists were working with lipid-mediated transfection long before Dr. Malone. Dr. Felger, et. al.(1987) was working and publishing papers on this technology(1). Dr. Malone's paper came out in 1989 with Felger and Verma as co-authors(2). Also in 1989, Pinnaduwage, et. al. developed technology using lipids as a transfection mechanism (3). Eleven years later, Dr. Katalin Karikó published a paper in 1998(4) in which she has been awarded the Vilcek Prize for Excellence(5). She's credited with effectively stabilizing nucleosides safely for mRNA vaccines. A scientist for over 40 years, she has worked on a wide variety of RNA delivery systems and mechanisms helping pave the way to the Moderna vaccine(6).

Other papers investigating this: Sun, et. al. (1981). Behr, et. al.(1989), Weis, et. al.(1989), Duzgunes, et. al.(1989), Bringham, et. al.(1989). I could have kept going.

So, no. Dr. Malone is not "the" inventor of mRNA vaccine technology, no more than Al Gore invented the internet. Again, to his credit, Dr. Malone does have patents for mRNA and DNA delivery technologies, but the idea that he alone is the sole inventor of the technologies used today is false. Dr. Malone has had no input on the creation of the modern technologies used in Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine.

CLAIM: False

A good review tackling many of Dr. Malone's claims as well as addressing what he did and did not do is below. https://www.logically.ai/articles/who-is-dr.-robert-malone

Longer Version: https://www.logically.ai/factchecks/library/3aa2eefd


1. https://www.pnas.org/content/84/21/7413

2. https://www.pnas.org/content/86/16/6077

3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0005273689900990

4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/.../pii/S0005273697002381...

5. https://vilcek.org/news/dr-katalin-kariko-receives-2022-vilcek-prize-for-excellence-for-pioneering-vaccine-research

6. https://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=list_works&hl=en&hl=en&user=PS_CX0AAAAAJ&pagesize=190&sortby=pubdate