The Daily Express denied the ridiculous claim that Russia stole a prescription for the coronavirus vaccine from Britain’s AstraZeneca.
The British newspaper “Sun” published a “revealing” text of “conspiracy theory”, which was readily circulated and reproduced by hundreds of Western media outlets, including Greek publications.
The Sun tabloid said British spies “have evidence” that the Moscow Sputnik V vaccine was created on the basis of documents “stolen” from the AstraZeneca concern by a “foreign agent.” The British Express later published a similar story with reference to Sun.
However, Express withdrew the article yesterday, leaving the original title but replacing the entire content with a statement from the Russian Direct Investment Fund, the organization that funded the development of Sputnik V at the Gamaleya National Research Center in Moscow.
“The article also contained false information (!). Sorry, we are reporting facts, “Express said in a statement.
A statement from the Russian RDIF explains that Sputnik V uses two vectors of human adenovirus, while the AstraZeneca vaccine has chosen chimpanzee adenovirus. Sputnik V, the world’s first registered vaccine against the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19 (before AstraZeneca), was also based on years of previous research in the field, which can be easily verified using public records.
“Instead of spreading false stories, the British media and government agencies should better protect the reputation of AstraZeneca, a safe and effective vaccine that is constantly under attack from competitors in the media with non-existent elements,” RDIF told media reporters. Indeed, the UK vaccine has come under merciless criticism, although it does not necessarily cause more side effects than its main competitor, the Pfizer vaccine.
However, Sun did not withdraw or revise its article. She simply added at the end of the article a quote from a London-based public relations company representing RDIF.
The newspaper reports on “anonymous British spies” who “multiply endlessly”, causing outrage in Moscow. Gennady Onishchenko, a deputy from the ruling United Russia party and former head of the Russian Ministry of Health and a health advisor to Putin, said the people involved in the publication should be fired and seek psychiatric help.
“I propose to send Sun reporters for a psychological assessment,” he told RIA Novosti. “And MI6 (British Secret Service) staff should be fired because they have lost the ability to do their jobs.”
Yet this common-sense conspiracy theory has spread in the form of news around the world, the Greek newspaper newsbreak.gr reported.