| 31 March 2023, Friday |

Russian scientist who developed Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine ‘strangled’ to death in his apartment

A probe has opened up by the Russian authorities, after a top scientist who worked on the development of Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines was strangled to death in his Moscow apartment on Friday.

The virologist identified as 47-year-old Andrey Botikov was one of the 18 scientists who worked on the Sputnik V vaccine at the Gamaleya National Research Center which was released in 2020. He was found strangled by a belt at his Rogova Street home on March 2, according to local news reports.

Earlier, it was suggested that he had survived the attack after an intruder broke into his home. However, the Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) has now opened a probe into the matter and have zeroed in on a 29-year-old man who is alleged to have killed the scientist with the belt over a disagreement.

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ICR’s Moscow division in a statement released informed that a criminal investigation was ongoing and that the assailant was nabbed “in the shortest possible time”.

“During the interrogation, he admitted his guilt, he was charged. Previously, the defendant was prosecuted for committing a serious crime,” read the statement.

According to Russian media, the suspect’s name is Alexei Z and he has previously spent 10 years behind the bars for providing sex services.

Botikov was a celebrated scientist in the country and was awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland for his work on the vaccine. Prior to his work on the Sputnik V vaccine, Botikov had worked at the Russian State Collection of Viruses D.I. Ivanovsky Institute of Virology as a senior scientist.
His death comes in the backdrop of Russian General Vladimir Makarov allegedly committing suicide at his country home last month.

Similarly, a Russian business tycoon named Pavel Antov was found dead after he fell out of a hotel window while staying in India.

The multi-millionaire was on holiday in the eastern state of Odisha where he was celebrating his 66th birthday.


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