'Old fake news': Sputnik V refutes claims Russia stole Oxford vaccine blueprint

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Published: Oct 11, 2021, 02:40 PM(IST)

Sputnik V Photograph:( AFP )

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According to security sources, a Moscow mole in the UK physically obtained the highly secret design – although it is unclear if this was a paper from the pharma giant's lab or factory, or a vial of the final drug smuggled out of the country for examination.

Russian spies allegedly acquired the design for the life-saving Oxford/AstraZeneca jab and utilised it to construct their own Sputnik V jab and win the race to produce the world's first effective coronavirus vaccine. However, Sputnik V has refuted these claims as "old fake news".

Security sources are said to have told UK ministers that they had proof that Kremlin agents stole the Covid vaccine plan and used it to create their own vaccine.

As per The Sun, the vaccine blueprint and crucial documents were stolen in person by a foreign spy.

Also read | Russian president Vladimir Putin says 'several dozen people' within the Kremlin inner circle have COVID-19 

However, a press release by the vaccine manufacturer labels the news reports a "blatant lie based on anonymous sources". It goes on to say that this is merely an attempt "by those opposing the success of one of the world’s most effective and safe vaccines against COVID-19" adding that they find attacks like these "highly unethical as they undermine the global vaccination effort".

Addressing the viral claims, they also sent out a tweet that said, "UK tabloids are again pushing old fake news about “stolen” technology. #SputnikV is based on human adenoviral platform designed 7 years ago, very different from AstraZeneca vaccine, based on chimpanzee adenovirus. Lies in media undermine global partnership to fight #COVID."

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They added that "rather than spreading fake stories, the UK media and government services should better protect the reputation of AstraZeneca, a safe and efficient vaccine that is constantly attacked by competitors in the media with facts taken out of context."

Watch | Gravitas: India approves Russia's Sputnik-V vaccine

 
According to the security sources claims, a Moscow mole in the UK physically obtained the highly secret design, although it is unclear if this was a paper from the pharma giant's lab or factory or a vial of the final drug smuggled out of the country for examination.
 

MI5 operatives have previously stated that Russian hackers attempted multiple cyber strikes on Oxford University beginning in March 2020, around a month after British scientists revealed they had begun researching a vaccine. 

Damian Hinds, the UK Security Minister, declined to corroborate the accusation but claims that cyber-assaults were growing more sophisticated. 

Also read | AstraZeneca's new vaccine trial aims to treat severe COVID-19 symptoms

Oxford/AZ announced the start of the first human trials in April of last year, but Moscow announced the following month that they had invented their own vaccine, and by August, Vladimir Putin gave a TV address to the Russian people declaring that Russia had won the global race to develop the first Covid-19 vaccine.

It was eventually discovered that Sputnik V operates in the same manner as its British cousin, both are viral vector vaccines, which means they employ a latent virus to transport the immune agent that ultimately destroys the coronavirus.

(With inputs from agencies)

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