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Kremlin Slams Sun Article Claiming Russia Stole AstraZeneca Vaccine Formula as 'Deeply Unscientific'

© REUTERS / DADO RUVICFILE PHOTO: Vials labelled "AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine" placed on displayed EU flag are seen in this illustration picture
FILE PHOTO: Vials labelled AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine placed on displayed EU flag are seen in this illustration picture - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.10.2021
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The vaccine against coronavirus, developed jointly by Oxford University and the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, uses a viral vector to deliver DNA information – technology known for decades. However, the UK jab used a modified chimpanzee adenovirus as a delivery method, while Russia's Sputnik V vaccine uses a human adenovirus.
An article in the British tabloid The Sun, claiming that a Russian spy stole the formula for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for Moscow to use, is highly "unscientific", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
"The Sun is a very well-known deeply unscientific newspaper. Well, we probably treat its publications as similarly unscientific".
Deputy Chief of Presidential Staff - Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov during Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual question and answer session at the World Trade Center on Krasnaya Presnya Street, Moscow - Sputnik International
Dmitry Peskov
Kremlin Spokesman
The Sun published the article on 10 October, claiming the UK security services believe that a Russian spy "copied the blueprint" for the AstraZeneca COVID jab. The newspaper did not reveal the source of its claims. Nor did it clarify what evidence allegedly led the British security services to suspect Russia of stealing the formula.
Only one vaccine uses the same principle as the AstraZeneca jab – the world's first registered COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V. Both drugs use a viral vector to deliver the DNA information about the coronavirus' spike protein – a technology known to scientists for several decades and well-studied by specialists during the Soviet era and used in vaccines prior to Sputnik V in Russia.
In this handout photo released by Hungarian Foreign Ministry, a laboratory assistant holds a phial with Russia's coronavirus vaccine Gam-COVID-Vac, trade-named Sputnik V, in Budapest, Hungary - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.02.2021
Science & Tech
'Vaccine for All Mankind': Lancet Article Validates Sputnik V Efficacy at 91.6%
At the same time, the two drugs use different viruses as their vector – while AstraZeneca's jab uses a modified chimpanzee adenovirus, Sputnik V's makers opted for a more studied human adenovirus. Furthermore, the two drugs showed different efficacy levels in trials: the Russian drug reported 91.6% efficacy on average, while the British medication showed 81.3% efficacy.
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