"This whole story, I think, is an attempt to tarnish the reputation of the Russian vaccine by some of the people who are scared of its success, because Russian vaccine could potentially be the first on the market and it potentially could be the most effective," Dmitriev said.
These are typical accusations without any evidence, and the timing of their appearance is noteworthy, just when it was announced that approval for Russian vaccine from regulators was expected in August, he said.
"There is no need to 'steal' anything from Oxford because AstraZeneca is already in discussions on contract with one of our portfolio companies R-Pharm to produce Oxford vaccines in Russia. So, no stealing is needed, no secrets are needed. Everything is already given to R-Pharm, our portfolio company, will be producing Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines in Russia," Dmitriev said.
Earlier in the day, the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said it was working with the United States and Canada to identify hacker attacks affecting pharmaceutical companies and scientists in several countries. According to the centre, Russian intelligence-linked hackers tried to steal data on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine from three countries. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected these allegations.