Robert Malone’s role in the invention of mRNA vaccines — an analysis

“Zero to one” or 0.5 to 0.51?

How It All Began

So how close was Malone to the original invention of that delivery technology? Well, Dr. Phillip Felgner started working on his lipofection methodology in the early 1980s long before he knew Malone and by 1987 has demonstrated that it can be used to successfully deliver DNA and RNA into cells — as disclosed in one of Felgner’s patents filed in 1987, which provided examples of doing so for both DNA and RNA. Note that the above patent predates any patents that Felgner would later file with Malone as a co-author.

An Inventor is (Not) Born

Excited by his success, Malone then wrote an internal Salk memo in which he mused that DOTMA-mediated mRNA delivery could provide “a way to treat RNA as a drug”. It seems that Malone believes that this letter marks the point at which he has invented “RNA as a drug” in 1988:

So What Did Malone Invent?

Putting aside the bad look (and legal aspects) of Malone trying to scoop his own company’s patent application for Felgner’s lipofection platform, let us come back to the potential novelty of what Malone has done in using lipofection to deliver RNA into cells.

Naked DNA and RNA Delivery

The story of Malone and Felgner would be incomplete without the naked DNA/RNA delivery saga. During animal experiments that Wolff was running for Vical on in vivo delivery of liposomal DNA and RNA formulations, it was accidentally discovered that you could actually deliver naked DNA and RNA i.e. one not encapsulated in lipids.

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Preventing death is my life’s mission. I am a drug developer currently working on a rejuvenating gene therapy using the approach of partial reprogramming.

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Yuri Deigin

Preventing death is my life’s mission. I am a drug developer currently working on a rejuvenating gene therapy using the approach of partial reprogramming.