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A Fraud and a Quack

(Two Beloved Covid Antivax Doctors)

By Gary F. Zeolla


This article is a follow-up to More Covid Right-Wing Deceptions and Left-Wing Miscues.


      Most doctors recommend the Covid vaccines for at least their high-risk patients. I know my doctor recommended I (at now age 62) get vaccinated and now boosted. And my 87-year-old dad’s doctor recommended he get boosted when I accompanied him to a recent appointment.

      However, there are also some doctors who recommend against the Covid vaccines. Two such doctors have been very vocal about their disapproval of the Covid vaccines. They have in fact become the darlings of the right, appearing on much right-wing media.

      They are entitled to their opinions. But they are not entitled to lie about their background and to become antivax to cover up their own quackery. In this article I will discuss these two doctors in depth.

      Note that this is another article I began writing back at the beginning of this year (2023). I am adding to that material for these articles that I am posting now at the end of 2023.


Dr. Mark Malone


      Dr Mark Malone is a stanch Covid antivaxxer. He has become the darling of right wing-media. I first heard him on Sean Hannity’s radio show. He has appeared on it and Sean’s TV show many times. He also regularly appears on other right-wring media. He is always introduced as being “the inventor of the mRNA Covid vaccines” or “the inventor of the mRNA technology” that was used to develop the Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines.

      Just that introduction always left me a bit skeptical about him. The mRNA technology and the mRNA vaccines are not the same thing. Yes, that technology was used to develop the vaccines, but they are not the same. And being the “inventor” of the former does not make him an expert on the latter. For that I would turn to those who worked on the devloipment of the vaccines themselves.
      However, it gets worse than that. Dr. Malone is in fact a fraud. He was not the “inventor” of either the mRNA vaccines or of the mRNA technology underlying them. He in fact had a very minor role in mRNA research at best. To claim he “invented” it is a deception. He is also very self-aggrandizing and conspiratorial, claiming he deserves much greater praise than he has received.

      Anyone who lies or exaggerates about his record and achievements and thinks everyone is out to get him is not trustworthy. As such, I would not trust anything he has to say about Covid, the vaccines, or anything else. But he has gotten quite rich by spreading Covid and vaccine misinformation on right-wing media.

      In a way, I cannot blame him. He has figured out what the conservative community wants to hear, and he spoon feeds it to them, getting paid very well along the way. If I was of similar low integrity, I would do the same. Not only would more conservatives read my Covid writings, but that might help the sales of my politics books, which mostly present a conservative perspective. But I just cannot be so disingenuous to make a buck.


      Dr. Robert Malone says he helped invent mRNA vaccines and has been wronged for decades. Now he’s spreading unfounded claims about the vaccines and the virus….

      Dr. Malone also routinely sells himself on the shows as the inventor of mRNA vaccines, the technology used by Pfizer and Moderna for their Covid-19 shots, and says he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for their development. While he was involved in some early research into the technology, his role in its creation was minimal at best, say half a dozen Covid experts and researchers, including three who worked closely with Dr. Malone….

      In addition to his regular appearances on conservative shows, Dr. Malone has more than 134,000 subscribers to his Substack newsletter. About 8,000 pay the $5 monthly cost, he said, which would amount to at least $31,200 in monthly revenue….

      The idea that he is the inventor of mRNA vaccines is “a totally false claim,” said Dr. Gyula Acsadi, a pediatrician in Connecticut who along with Dr. Malone and five others wrote a widely cited paper in 1990 showing that injecting RNA into muscle could produce proteins. …

      But Dr. Malone was not the lead author on the paper and, according to Dr. Acsadi, did not make a significant contribution to the research. While the paper stated that the technology could “provide alternative approaches to vaccine development,” Dr. Acsadi said none of the other authors would claim that they invented the vaccine….

      The vaccines “are the result of hundreds of scientists all over the world, all combining to come together to form this vaccine,” Dr. McAlpine said. “It was not one individual or the pioneering work of an individual person.” …

      Dr. Malone pushes back against the criticism directed at him by scientists, researchers and journalists, and dismisses the dozens of fact-checks disputing his statements as “attacks.” (NYT. The Latest).


      Robert Malone claims to be the “inventor of mRNA vaccines.” Whether his claim is legitimate or not, his fans are editing Wikipedia, and he’s spreading COVID-19 misinformation of the worst kind….

      On the surface, he sounds like a legitimate scientist, and maybe he was. However, in the era of the pandemic, something happened and he’s gone full COVID-19 crank….

      … Basically, in 1989, while in Inder Verma’s lab he published a paper in which the mRNA coding for Luciferase, a protein that undergoes bioluminescence when the right reagents are in the solution, was encapsulated in liposomes and used to transfect (introduce the mRNA or DNA into) NIH-3T3 cells (a commonly used fibroblast cell line), as well as human, rat, mouse, Xenopus, and Drosophila cells. This is basic cell culture work, a long way from vaccines….

      It makes me wonder why this paper’s first (and corresponding) author Jon Wolff isn’t on Bret Weinstein’s and Joe Rogan’s podcasts and Fox News complaining about not getting his proper due as the one true “inventor of mRNA vaccines.” My guess is that he knows the proper role his work played in the development of these vaccines….

      To reiterate, I don’t really care if Malone is truly the “inventor of mRNA vaccines” or not. I really don’t (even as I doubt that he really is). What I do care about is how he’s enthusiastically using his now ancient connection to mRNA transfection techniques. (Three decades ago is ancient history in molecular biology, something that I just thought of as I recalled that I cloned the new gene that became the basis of my PhD thesis about 30 years ago.) He’s using his status, regardless of whether he merits it or not, to spread fear about COVID-19 vaccines….

      It’s the oldest con in the world. Make grandiose claims. Fear monger about something (in this case, COVID-19 vaccines). Then claim “persecution” or “censorship” when those claims do what such claims always do and invite scrutiny and attempts to correct the misinformation in them. By my estimation, though, Malone is just not that good at it (Real Clear Science. Is “mRNA).


      A man by the name of Dr. Robert Malone has recently found fame through alternative media outlets, claiming to be the RNA vaccine inventor and spouting out a mishmash of misleading claims.

      Malone is a scientist. In 1989, he co-wrote a paper titled “Cationic liposome-mediated RNA transfection.” While his work on RNA transfection might have been important, his claim to be the “inventor” of RNA vaccines is shaky, to say the least. 

      In a recent, lengthy interview with the factually dubious Epoch Times, Malone made a number of claims about treatments for COVID-19 as well as COVID-19 vaccines. Many of these claims were misleading rather than downright false; they sometimes have a nugget of truth in them – a perennial conundrum for the fact checker (Logically. Double Check).


      It is Dr. Katalin Karikó and her collaborator Dr. Drew Weissman who are more commonly credited with laying the groundwork for mRNA vaccines…

      UPDATE: Malone reached out to Logically, stating that he did not invent the mRNA vaccines, but instead the “vaccine technology platform.” He also presented us with copies of nine patents – none of which showed that he invented the mRNA vaccines (Logically. Dr. Robert).


      In sum, Dr. Malone was involved in mRNA research and co-authored a paper on the same way back in 1989-90. That’s it. He has not been involved in mRNA research since then, and he had absolutely no involvement whatsoever with the actual development of the mRNA vaccines.

      As one quote indicated, 30 years is forever in genetic research. The difference between what was known about genetics back then and today would be about the same as the difference in computer technology.

      In 1990, most computers still used DOS. But an expert in 1990’s DOS would be lost in today’s computer world. Similarly, Dr. Malone’s mRNA expertise back then in no way makes him an mRNA expert today, let alone an expert in regard to the vaccines, which again, he had not role whatsoever in development. But him passing himself off as such is why I call hm fraudster.


Dr. Aseem Malhotra


      I had someone email a link to the article and video Dr Aseem Malhotra: From vaccine proponent to crusader for the truth about mRNA shots. The following is adapted my response to her and that link.


        I heard Dr. Aseem Malhotra on the Dan Bongino radio show a while back. I knew he was a quack when he said he became anti-vax after (quoting from the article). “The premature death of his father in July 2021, six months after he had received the second Pfizer shot,” without establishing a causal connection between the two.

      It is very difficult to establish a causal connection between an event that happened in say September to one that occurred in March. I outline the steps that are needed to establish a causal connection in health issues at the end of the following article: Update on Covid Deaths: Part Four (Both the Right and the Left Miss the Immense Disparate Covid Risk Factors). Malhotra does not establish his premise by following any of these steps, let alone all of them.

      I then email the emailer the following links:


Science Based Medicine. The Aseem Malhotra lecture isn’t what you think it is

Science Based Medicine. “I know you are, but what am I?” Dr. Asseem Malhotra rails against COVID-19 “misinformation”

Snowden. The downward spiral of Aseem Malhotra.


      I told her, I know these articles are lengthy and technical. But before promoting more antitax quacks, you need to do some research into who they are and the faulty reasoning behind their claims. As I indicated in the section of the article I referred you to, doing medical research is complicated. And it looks like I was correct about Malhotra. He ignores all of the necessary steps in establishing medical claims.


      Dr. Malhotra’s claims generally lack strong evidence to support them. They seem to be based on pre-existing beliefs and a narrative he is trying to advance, not the peer-reviewed literature. This is why the quality of evidence provided to the end-user is extraordinarily important. For all these reasons, please, please take the lecture, and all his future presentations on the same topic, with a grain of sodium-free salt substitute (Science Based Medicine. The Aseem).


      He’s accusing conventional medical authorities, big pharma, and social media companies of spreading medical misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines by using the very techniques of misinformation that he claims to decry, such as cherry-picked studies and conspiracy theories, to do it (Science Based Medicine. I Know).


      Malhotra’s slim contribution to the academic literature is filled with errors and corrections. He has produced almost nothing in the way of original research and his articles in journals are essentially op-eds. His fame does not depend on his contributions to science but on his TV appearances. It cannot be denied that he is telegenic and articulate. If you know nothing of his background, he comes across as trustworthy (Snowden. The Downward).


      It is much easier to spout talking points than to do actual medical research. Malhotra seems to be along the lines of Malone, of doing the former while ignoring the latter. In Malhotra’s case, it seems distress over the death of his father forced him to abandon those medical standards in an effort to explain his father’s death, rather than accepting bad things happen in our fallen world. I address such in the Conclusion to the following article Update on Covid Deaths: Part Six (NFL Deaths and Scare, Death of Elvis’ Daughter).

      Malhotra also promoted a high saturated fat diet, claiming such was best for preventing heart disease. However, when his father died of a heart attack, who assumedly had been following his son’s diet plan, rather than admitting his dietary ideas were wrong, he turned to the vaccines to explain his father’s death, rather than admitting his father following his faulty diet was to blame. His father’s arterial arteries were 90% clogged, probably due to that high saturated fat diet, not the vaccines.

      In fact, there is no physiological way that arteries could get that percentage of being clogged in six months. It takes many years of cholesterol buildup to reach that point. Those would have been the many years that Malhotra’s father was following his son’s faulty dietary advice.

      To put it another way, Malhotra was unable to admit his faulty dietary ideas led to the death of his father, so he found a scapegoat, the vaccines.


      As often is the case with those who believe in something very strongly, rather than question his existing belief systems, Dr. Malhotra appears to have started looking for “other” causes for his father’s sudden death. I can only speculate, but, given his apparent belief in diet as the be-all and end-all of cardiovascular (and general) health, my guess is that in his grief he was even more susceptible than he might have been to the blandishments of the antivaccine movement and that susceptibility ultimately led to his going down the rabbit hole of antivaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories bolstered by bad science (Science Based Medicine. I Know).


      The following are the basics of the diet Malhotra promoted: 

      The diet was created by Dr Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist, and Donal O’Neill, a former international athlete and documentary film-maker (Cereal Killers). Both authors are advocates of the ‘low-carb, high-fat’ approach to eating. The authors recommend avoiding all sugars (including honey) and most starchy carbs including rice, white potatoes, bread, pasta, cereals as well as other flour-based foods. Eggs, cheese and full-fat dairy, including fermented dairy products, are allowed on the plan….

      However, the recommendations for total fat, saturated fat and carbohydrates go against NHS reference intakes, instead promoting a higher intake of fat with fewer carbs. Guidelines currently promote limiting saturated fat whilst incorporating carbohydrates, preferably the wholegrain variety. Critics of the plan may argue that a better balance would be achieved if the diet included carbohydrates in the form of wholegrains (e.g. brown rice or oats), whilst minimising [sic] saturated fats (BBC. What is the Pioppi diet?)


      I know low carb/ high fat diets are currently popular, but they are not at all heart-healthy: 

      The American Heart Association (AHA) analyzed the most popular diets and ranked them based on which approaches were best and worst for your heart. The conclusion was that on a scale of 0 to 100, some of the trendiest diets in social media were the worst for cardiovascular health. For example, very low-carb regimens like the Atkins and ketogenic diets scored 31 points and the paleo diet scored 53 points….

      The AHA noted that while very low carb diets may help with weight loss and improve certain markers of metabolic health, such as blood sugar and triglyceride levels, these effects may be temporary. In fact, these diets can cause an increase in LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of heart disease….

      The report gave it highest mark — a score of 100 — to the DASH diet, which stands for “dietary approaches to stop hypertension….

      The DASH diet and three others with high scores were grouped into what the AHA called Tier 1. Others in Tier 1 include the pescatarian diet (92 points), the Mediterranean diet (89 points) and the vegetarian diet (86 points) (Newsmax. Keto).


       In my books Creationist Diet: Second Edition and God-given Foods Eating Plan I go into much greater detail on why low carb/ high fat diets are not healthy. I especially focus on claims that saturated fats do not raise LDL cholesterol levels in the former book, documenting that they do in fact do so.

      I instead present my own Bible and science-based dietary plan. The plan is similar to the DASH and Mediterranean plans, so what is said about them would apply to my dietary plan. I specifically do not advocate a vegetarian plan, for reasons that I detail in my books. However, I am very specific about the types of animal foods that would be healthy.

      This is an area that I know much about, having a degree in Nutrition Science and having done the research for these two books. And anecdotally, I tried a low carb/ high fat diet many years ago. After a few months on the diet, my LDL cholesterol jumped 60 points. That is when I abandoned that faulty dietary plan and developed my own eating plan that I later detailed into my books.

      That said, I am calling Malhotra a quack due to his promotion of such a faulty diet and his inability to admit his mistake in that regard. Add to that his scapegoating of the vaccines to cover up his mistake, and that makes him a quack, and his ideas, both about diet and about the vaccines, to be deadly quackery.


      Dr. Malhotra was never what one could reasonably describe as a defender of science-based medicine. He has long promoted dietary advice that was…debatable…having published The Pioppi Diet, a book that “earned” the “honor” of being named one of “Top 5 worst celeb diets to avoid in 2018” by the British Dietetic Association, which noted how the diet was patterned after the Mediterranean diet but with a low carb agenda (Science Based Medicine. I Know).


      … in 2017 [Malhotra] wrote an article for the British Journal of Sports Medicine titled ‘Saturated fat does not clog the arteries’ which the British Heart Foundation described as ‘misleading and wrong’. Over 170 academics signed a letter accusing the British Journal of Sports of bias…

      It is not just that Malhotra is opposed to statins and actively promotes saturated fat - he is, I repeat, a cardiologist! - but he says things, particularly on Twitter, that bring his profession into disrepute.

      To take a typical example, after the British Dietetic Association laughed at his diet book and the British Heart Foundation condemned his article on saturated fat, he accused both organisations [sic], without evidence, of being ‘hired hands of those that put private profit over what’s important to patients’ (Snowden. The Downward).


      Thus, both Malone and Malhotra have an “the world is against me” attitude. And both claim to be exposing misinformation, but in fact, both are spreaders of such.


      The articles [by Malhotra] are terrible. Truly awful. They rely on cherry-picking, misrepresentation and personal anecdote. They contain basic errors that would have been picked up by any half-decent referee. They ignore two years of real world evidence in favour of a cranky interpretation of the early clinical trials. They accuse the entire scientific establishment of doing what Malhotra does all the time - spreading misinformation (Snowden. The Downward).




      Before closing this article, I want to make one qualification about my criticism of Malone and Malhotra. Both of them emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle in protecting against Covid, while the articles I quote from criticizing them about their vaccine stance also criticize them on this point. I would be more in agreement with Malone and Malhotra than their critics on this point.

        In fact, the subtitle of  one of my early Covid articles was “Healthy Habits are Your Best Defense” (see Revised Coronavirus Numbers). However, I posted that two-part article on May 30, 2020, long before the vaccines were available. Once they became available, I also promoted their use for those in high-risk groups and got vaccinated myself (see Why I Decided to Get Vaccinated).

        One of the reasons I got vaccinated is that no matter how much you try to follow health habits, stuff happens. And when it does, that can derail your healthy habits, opening you up to serious consequences from a Covid infection, while being vaccinated will lessen that risk.   

        Also, no matter how contentious you are about following a healthy lifestyle, there is thing you cannot control—your age. That is important as increasing age is the greatest risk factor for Covid, even more so than not following a healthy lifestyle.

       However, both Malone and Malhotra ignore these simple truths of life and try to scare all people off of the vaccines. As such, my  criticism of them is the same as for the right’s antivax altitude in general—it ignores that the elderly and those with specific comorbidities are at such great a risk from Covid that even if there is a risk from the vaccines, the risk from Covid is still far greater, as I document elsewhere on this website (see, for example, 2022 Updated Covid Booster Shot Benefits and Risks). But they ignore that important fact.


The final article in this series is Covid Deaths Numbers and Related Updates.


Dr. Mark Malone:

    Logically. Double Check: Who Is Dr. Robert Malone?

    Logically. Dr. Robert Malone invented mRNA vaccines.

    NYT. The Latest Covid Misinformation Star Says He Invented the Vaccines.

    Real Clear Science. Is “mRNA vaccine inventor” Robert Malone “being erased from Wikipedia” for his claims about COVID-19?

    Real Clear Science. Supposed 'mRNA Vaccine Inventor' Is a COVID Crank.

Dr. Aseem Malhotra:

    Biz News. Dr Aseem Malhotra: From vaccine proponent to crusader for the truth about mRNA shots.

    Newsmax. Keto, Paleo Diets Are Not Heart Healthy.

    Science Based Medicine. “I know you are, but what am I?” Dr. Asseem Malhotra rails against COVID-19 “misinformation”.

    Science Based Medicine. The Aseem Malhotra lecture isn’t what you think it is.

    Snowden. The downward spiral of Aseem Malhotra.

    BBC. What is the Pioppi diet?


A Fraud and a Quack (Two Beloved Covid Antivax Doctors). Copyright © 2023 by Gary F. Zeolla (

God-given Foods Eating Plan
For Lifelong Health, Optimization of Hormones, Improved Athletic Performance

    The approach of this book is to study different foods and food groups, with a chapter devoted to each major classification of foods. First the Biblical evidence is considered, then the modern-day scientific research is reviewed. Foods are then classified as “God-given foods” and “non-God-given foods.” The main point will be a healthy eating plan is composed of a variety of God-given foods and avoids non-God-given foods.

The above article was posted on this website December 10, 2023.

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