Andrei Botikovone of 18 scientists who worked to create Russia’s 2020 COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, is believed to have been killed in northwest Moscow during a domestic dispute, according to the independent media Jellyfish. Botikov was an employee of the National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology Gamaleya in Moscow.
An employee of the Moscow Investigative Committee revealed to independent media, without confirming the name of the victim, that a 29-year-old man entered Botikov’s apartment and then strangled him with a belt.
Later, a source RIA Novosti reported that the victim was Andrey Botikov, one of the main researchers in the development of the Russian vaccine. The alleged attacker has already pleaded guilty to the murder charges.
Russian media reported that the suspect, known as Alexei Zhad already spent 10 years in prison accused of providing sexual services.
Botikov was a senior researcher at the Gamaleya Center. Along with others involved in the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, he received a medal “for merit to the fatherland”.
The Gamaleya Center press office declined to comment, writing RBCand recommended to contact law enforcement.
Prior to being involved in the development of Sputnik V, Botikov had worked at the Russian National Virus Collection DI Ivanovsky Institute of Virology as a senior scientist.
Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) is a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, named after Honorary Academician NF Gamaleya, Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation.
Sputnik was the first registered combination vector vaccine against COVID-19, on August 11, 2020. It has also been criticized for seeing the green light in Russia, as results from the late clinical stage, the so-called phase 3 , were not yet available.
Created artificially, without any element of the coronavirus in its composition, it comes in freeze-dried form, that is to say in the form of a powder which is mixed with an excipient to dissolve it and then administered intramuscularly.
The drug uses human adenovirus technology from two different vectors, Ad5 and Ad26, for a first and a second injection. However, Sputnik V does not contain live human adenoviruses, but human adenoviral vectors which are not able to multiply and are completely harmless to health.
It builds on an existing two-vector vaccine platform, developed in 2015 to treat Ebola, which passed all phases of clinical trials and was used to defeat the Ebola outbreak in Africa in 2017.