11 Oct 2021 19:04

RDIF dismisses UK tabloid's allegations of using AstraZeneca's formula to create Sputnik V vaccine

MOSCOW. Oct 11 (Interfax) - The British tabloid newspaper The Sun's allegation that the developers of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine used a formula stolen from AstraZeneca makes no sense from a scientific standpoint, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said.

"UK media reports that Russia's Sputnik V was allegedly based on research from the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is another fake news and blatant lie based on anonymous sources," the RDIF said in a statement on Monday.

"They also make absolutely no sense scientifically as Sputnik V and AstraZeneca use different platforms," it said.

Sputnik V is based on a well-studied human adenoviral platform, whose efficacy and safety have been proven over decades and which the developer of Sputnik V, the Gamaleya Center, used earlier in exploring vaccines for Ebola in 2017 and MERS in 2019, while AstraZeneca uses a chimpanzee adenoviral vector for its vaccine, it said.

Apart from that, the Sputnik V vaccine uses "heterogenous boosting" by employing two different vectors, Ad26 and Ad5, for the two shots to achieve stronger and longer-lasting immunity, or the so-called mix-and-match combo approach, while AstraZeneca uses one and the same vector twice, it said.

The allegations in question are being "pushed by those opposing the success of one of the world's most effective and safe vaccines against Covid-19, and we find such attacks highly unethical as they undermine the global vaccination effort," it said.

The Sputnik V team and AstraZeneca are "conducting joint clinical trials in partnership on the combo use of the two vaccines and have released information on safety and efficacy," RDIF said.

"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," RDIF said.

The Sun said in its Monday issue, citing anonymous sources with UK security services, that Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine was copied from a formula developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca, which had been previously stolen by Russian spies.

When asked to comment on this report, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov branded The Sun as "a deeply unscientific newspaper."

"The Sun is a very well-known, deeply unscientific newspaper. That's probably how we feel about those reports," Peskov said.