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Top Russian scientist who created Sputnik V Covid vaccine ‘is strangled to death with a belt in his Moscow apartment in row with intruder’

  • Andrey Botikov was a senior researcher involved in making the Sputnik vaccine
  • His killer was found by authorities and has since been arrested and charged 

Russia’s investigative committee has launched a murder investigation after a top scientist was found dead in his Moscow apartment yesterday.

Andrey Botikov, known as one of the 18 scientists who worked on the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in 2020, was identified as the man who had been strangled to death with a belt in northwest Moscow.

It was previously reported he had survived the encounter after an intruder broke into his home and started rowing with him over money.

But a 29-year-old man has since been arrested and charged with the murder of the scientist.

Andrey Botikov was found strangled to death in his apartment in Moscow on 2 March 2023

Andrey Botikov was found strangled to death in his apartment in Moscow on 2 March 2023

The Investigative Committee of Russia said they found the suspect in ‘the shortest possible time’ after he tried to flee the scene.

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They claim he confessed to the crime during an interrogation.

The committee also reported the defendant had already been prosecuted for committing another ‘serious’ crime.

Russian media reported that the suspect, known as Alexei Z, had spent 10 years in prison on charges of providing sex services. 

Andrey Botikov was a senior researcher at the National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology.

He had previously worked at the Russian State Collection of Viruses D.I. Ivanovsky Institute of Virology as a senior scientist.

He was awarded an Order of Merit for the Fatherland for his work on the Sputnik V vaccine.

An image shared by the Investigative Committee of Russia after the virologist was killed

An image shared by the Investigative Committee of Russia after the virologist was killed

Sputnik was the first registered combination vector vaccine against Covid-19.

Critics suggested the vaccine was approved without robust research into its safety and efficacy. 

A 2021 article in The Lancet nonetheless claimed the vaccine ‘appeared safe and effective’.

In February, Russian General Vladimir Makarov was found shot dead in an apparent suicide at his country home.

He had recently been fired from his top job of ‘combating extremism’ in Russia. 

In December, a Russian sausage tycoon was found dead after falling out of a window to his death while staying at a hotel in India.

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