The head of the Russian sovereign wealth fund said he and his female figure skater had already been vaccinated against the coronavirus using an “experimental” vaccine developed in Moscow.
Kirill Dmitriev, 45, manager of the $ 10 billion Russian Direct Investment Fund, said that his wife, Natalia Popova and their family developed “double the antibodies” of a typical patient after the injection.
The Kremlin is now preparing to enter phase III trials of the vaccine and plans to start mass vaccination before the end of the year, he added, which could make it the first country in the world to do so. make.
But her announcement just came home after the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada accused Russian hackers of targeting researchers at the University of Oxford, who are already in phase III trials of their own vaccine.
This has fueled speculation that the hackers – from a group known as Cozy Bear who has ties to the Russian state – managed to steal sensitive information and used it to advance their own research.
Kirill Dmitriev, 45 (left), says he and his wife Natalia Popova (right) received the Moscow Coronavirus vaccine and now have twice the antibodies of a typical patient
Ms. Popova is a part-time model, television presenter and director of Innopraktika – a foundation founded by Katerina Tikhonova, considered to be the eldest daughter of Putin.
British intelligence has refused to reveal whether any information has been stolen.
Dmitriev denied the speculation in an interview with Times Radio, accusing Western states of being “afraid of the success” of the Russian vaccine and trying to tarnish the good news.
The first human trial of the vaccine, a one-month trial of 38 people, ended this week, he said.
The researchers concluded that it is safe to use and induces an immune response, although the strength of that response is not yet clear.
A larger phase III trial involving several thousand people is expected to start in August, added Dmitriev.
“We believe that based on current results, it will be approved in Russia in August and in some other countries in September …, making it perhaps the first vaccine approved in the world,” he concluded.
At the head of the Russian wealth fund, Kirill is a powerful figure in Moscow – especially since his wife is the director of Innopraktika, a foundation led by Katerina Tikhonova, who is widely regarded as the eldest daughter of Putin.
In addition to being the director of the fund, Popova is the host of the Russian public television channel Rossiya 24, where she presents scientific programs and works as a model.
It is not known exactly when Ms. Popova married Mr. Dmitriev, but it is believed that they married before 2018. She appears in glamorous photos on Russian social networks (left and right)
Images published on Russian social networks show her posing with big cats, fast cars and in glamorous destinations.
It is not known exactly when they were married, although it is believed to be before 2018. They were photographed together at an event in Sevastopol, occupied Crimea, last year.
Dmitriev said the phase III trial in Russia would take place at home and in two countries in the Middle East and would start after the completion of a phase II trial of 100 people on August 3.
Russia was in talks with Saudi Arabia as a test site and manufacturing partner, he said at a separate press conference.
The Gamaleya Institute in Moscow, which developed the Russian candidate vaccine, produces doses for clinical trials, while private pharmaceutical companies Alium – which are part of the Sistema conglomerate – R-Pharm and manage the bottling.
The two are updating their lab setup so they can resume production in the next two months, said Dmitriev.
“There is a general feeling that for so-called collective immunity in Russia, you have to vaccinate between 40 million and 50 million people,” he told Reuters.
Putin’s close friend Dmitriev says Russian vaccine is about to enter phase III trials and could be approved for use in August, with 200 million doses manufactured by September
“So we think we will be in good shape to produce around 30 million (doses nationally) this year and then we can finalize the vaccination next year. “
Russia has also concluded manufacturing agreements with five other countries and could produce up to 170 million doses abroad this year, said Dmitriev.
He declined to say where or give pricing details, but said countries in Latin America, the Middle East and elsewhere have expressed interest in importing the vaccine.
The United Kingdom – supported by the United States and Canada – said on Thursday that researchers at the University of Oxford working on the AstraZeneca vaccine were targeted in the hack.
The vaccine study is widely regarded as the most advanced in the world, alongside another study in China.
Like the Russian vaccine, phase II trials have been completed and phase III trials are underway in Brazil.
“Positive news” is expected soon from phase II trials, ITV reporting that the vaccine produces an immune response.
The National Cyber Security Center in Britain announced Thursday that a hacking group called Cozy Bear, also known as ATP29, was responsible for the hacking.
The NCSC says it is 95% certain that the group is being exploited by Russian intelligence.
Dmitriev’s announcement came just hours after the UK accused Russian hackers of targeting its own coronavirus trials, fueling speculation that the search was stolen (file)
The group was charged with hacking the National Democratic Committee in the 2016 U.S. election and publishing a slice of email in an attempt to cause the vote to waver.
In 2015, he was involved in an attack on the Pentagon that brought down the Joint Staff’s email system and its Internet.
And in 2017, he was accused of targeting the Dutch national elections, forcing the government to abandon electronic ballots and count the votes by hand.
The move was probably intended to take revenge after Dutch security experts successfully hacked a video surveillance system in Moscow and watched the hackers at work.
Thanks to the cameras, they managed to identify the methods used by the pirates and to identify the individual members of the group.
This week, the British government has accused Russian hackers of leaking details of trade negotiations with the United States to try to help Labor win the 2019 election.
Although the group has not been named, Cozy Bear will be at the top of the list of suspects.
“APT29 has successfully compromised systems for over a decade around the world,” Tony Cole, chief technology officer at Attivo Networks, told The Telegraph.
“The pandemic has given them an additional new goal to steal research.”