From Olive Oil Emulsions to COVID-19 Vaccines: Liposomes Came First

Methods Mol Biol. 2023;2622:1-19. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-2954-3_1.


It has been a long journey from Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) to the FDA approval of the first injectable nanomedicine in 1997. A journey powered by intellectual curiosity, which began with sprinkling olive oil on seawater and culminated in playing around with smears of egg lecithin on microscopic slides. This brief review highlights how a few pairs of gifted hands attached to highly motivated brains have turned a curious discovery made under a microscopic lens into novel nanotherapeutics including liposome-based anti-cancer drugs and potent liposomal vaccines given to millions.

Keywords: Biological membranes; COVID-19; Drug delivery; Liposomes; Membrane models; Phospholipids; Vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Emulsions
  • Humans
  • Liposomes*
  • Olive Oil


  • Liposomes
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Olive Oil
  • Emulsions