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Russia rejects British tabloid's report about 'stolen design' of Sputnik V

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File labelled "Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine", March 24, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia has angrily rejected a recent allegation in a British tabloid that it has stolen and used the design for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to develop its Sputnik V shot.

The British tabloid newspaper The Sun published an article on Monday accusing Russia of having "stolen… the vaccine blueprint and crucial documents" ad used it to "help create" Sputnik V.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which promotes and sells Sputnik V, issued a statement late on Monday, describing the allegations as fake and a "blatant lie based on anonymous sources."

"We find such attacks highly unethical as they undermine the global vaccination effort," it said.

The RDIF argued that the allegations "also make absolutely no sense scientifically as Sputnik V and AstraZeneca use different platforms."

A UK government spokesperson declined to "comment on matters on the intelligence front."

"We take any such accusations of intellectual property theft and cyberattacks extremely seriously, and we've called out attempts in the past," the spokesperson said.

Sputnik V is widely used in Russia and approved for use in over 70 other countries.

Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) seeks to approve Sputnik V for emergency use within the bloc. Without that approval, people who have been vaccinated with Sputnik V would find it more difficult to travel in the EU.

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