Fact check: Lipid nanoparticles in a COVID-19 vaccine are there to transport RNA molecules

Social media users have claimed the presence of lipid nanoparticles in a COVID-19 vaccine means it could contain small robots or computers. This is false - these nanoparticles are tiny lipid droplets that transport and protect the vaccine component.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The claim has been shared in a video, which can be seen (here , here).

The footage shows the ingredients list for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which shows it contains lipid nanoparticles.

In the video, the man filming says: “We don’t know what’s in those nanoparticles, but they are so nano, that you could definitely have little computers in there”.

The term “nano”, however, is simply a unit of size.

Nanotechnology can refer to science conducted at the nanoscale of about 1 to 100 nanometers (here).

Similarly, the general definition of “nanoparticle” is a small particle that is between 1 and 100 nanometres in size.

And this in case, the term “nanoparticle” refers to a tiny lipid droplet that carries the vaccine component. Lipids are substances that are not soluble in water, like fats.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) technology (here).

It uses a chemical messenger to instruct cells to make proteins that mimic the outer surface of the new coronavirus, thereby creating immunity.

The lipid nanoparticles are essentially “delivery vehicles” that protect the mRNA when the vaccine is injected and transport it to the right place in cells (here).


False. The lipid nanoparticles in the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine protect and transport the vaccine component. They do not contain little computers or robots.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts  here .