U.K. government ministers have been told that Russian spies stole the formula for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which was then used in the development of the Sputnik shot.
The unconfirmed report claims that a Russian agent stole the crucial data in person. UK security said they have proof that vital data was pinched from the drugs firm — including the blueprint for the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.
Russia’s Sputnik jab uses similar technology to the Oxford designed vaccine which security teams are now sure was copied.
Last year, Russian spies were fingered in a state-sponsored hacks that targeted UK, US and Canadian bodies developing a Covid vaccine.
The late security minister James Brokenshire said at the time: “We are very careful in terms of calling these things out, ensuring we can have that confidence in attribution. We believe we have this here.”
Tory MP Bob Seely, an expert in Russian affairs, said: “I think we need to get serious about Russian and Chinese espionage.
“Whether it is stealing the design for Astra- Zeneca or blackmailing us over energy by these authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, we need to get wise to them.”
Home office minister Damian Hinds said today: “We live in world where there’s state activity seeking to engage in industrial espionage and economic espionage.
“We face threats of this type that are different, they are more sophisticated, they are more extensive than they ever have been before.
“Constantly there are foreign states who would like to get their hands on sensitive information including sometimes commercial secrets.”
Andrew Leach, of London PR firm Hudson Sandler, issued a statement on behalf of the Russian Direct Investment Fund which was established by the Russian state government. “U.K. 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.”