Russia denies allegations of theft of Covid vaccine blueprints

An employee holds a vial of Sputnik V coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine made using ingredients and technologies provided by Russia to the Brazilian pharmaceutical company Uniao Quimica in Guarulhos, Brazil on May 20, 2021.

Amanda Perobelli | Reuters

Russia has flatly denied new allegations that Russian spies stole the Oxford-AstraZeneca “blueprint” and used it to create their own snapshot for Sputnik V, and the head of the Russian sovereign wealth fund called the claims “scientific nonsense.”

Fresh reports emerged this week in the British press that British security officials had told British ministers they had strong evidence that Russia had stolen a blueprint for a British-made vaccine and used it to create Sputnik V.

The sun The tabloid newspaper first reported on the British intelligence allegations, although Downing Street declined to comment. This is not the first time Russia has been accused of attempting to steal and hack Covid vaccine data, but Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations, and RDIF called the latest report “fake” and “blatant lie.”

The head of the state fund for sovereign wealth RDIF supported this opinion on Wednesday, calling the accusations “scientific nonsense.”

“No merit [to these claims] and we understand this very clearly, – Kirill Dmitriev told CNBC on Wednesday. – This report is complete scientific nonsense, there is no value in it and, frankly, it is a lie.

Describing the report as “nonsense from anonymous sources,” Dmitriev said the latest accusations were part of a “smear campaign against Sputnik V because some politicians don’t like Russia and because some of the big pharmaceutical companies that fear the success of Sputnik V are continuing to attack Sputnik V and Sputnik light [its one-dose booster shot] from day one, so we are used to these attacks, ”he told CNBC to Street Signs Europe.

Dmitriev insisted that the Sputnik V developers wanted to collaborate with other vaccine manufacturers, and cited joint clinical trials with AstraZeneca. (to determine if mixed doses of Covid vaccine work), noting that “we believe in working together with other vaccine manufacturers and Sputnik V is a partner with other vaccines.”

What’s next

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is one of the leading sovereign wealth funds in the world with a capital reserve of $ 10 billion under management. The foundation has supported the development of the main coronavirus vaccine in Russia, Sputnik V, which became the first Covid vaccine in the world to be sanctioned by Russia in August 2020.

The Sputnik V vaccine has been the subject of suspicion, first because of its clinical data and efficacy, and more recently because of its origin and development.

Interim analysis of phase 3 vaccine clinical trials, with 20,000 participants and published in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet in In early February, it was found to be 91.6% effective against symptomatic Covid-19 infection.

However, the vaccine has not been approved for use by the US, UK and EU authorities. The World Health Organization said it is still evaluating the vaccine, but did not indicate whether and when it could provide a list for emergency use.

Not to be satisfied with what has already been achieved, Russia has developed several other vaccines against Covid and has since been working on a single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine intended to be used as a booster vaccine. In August, RDIF informed Sputnik Light was found to be “highly effective against Covid among over 320,000 people who received the vaccine, based on data collected by 30 July 2021.” The efficiency indicator is 93.5%.

Dmitriev of RDIF told CNBC that Russia expects the Sputnik V vaccine to be approved by the end of 2021 and that he hopes the single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine can soon be used as a booster in combination with other vaccines.

“Lately we have seen very positive signals from WHO and they really appreciate what we are doing … Sputnik Light can be a booster for other vaccines such as AstraZeneca and Moderna for many other vaccines, so we really believe in that a positive decision with WHO in the fall … definitely we expect approval very soon, ”he said.

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