A renowned scientist who developed the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine has been found dead in his home, according to reports.
Russian scientist Andrey Botikov, a senior researcher at the National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, was found strangled to death in his Moscow apartment.
Russia’s investigative committee has now launched a murder investigation over the gruesome discovery.
Botikov was one of the 18 scientists who worked on the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in 2020.
He was identified by authorities as the man who had been strangled to death with a belt in northwest Moscow.
It was previously reported he had survived the encounter after an intruder broke into his home and started rowing with him over money.
However, a 29-year-old man has since been arrested and charged with the murder of the scientist.
The Investigative Committee of Russia said they found the suspect in “the shortest possible time” after he tried to flee the scene.
Investigators claim he confessed to the crime during an “interrogation.”
The committee also reported the defendant had already been prosecuted for committing another “serious” crime.
Russian media reported that the suspect, known as Alexei Z, had spent 10 years in prison on charges of “providing sex services.”
Botikov had previously worked at the Russian State Collection of Viruses D.I. Ivanovsky Institute of Virology as a senior scientist.
He was awarded an Order of Merit for the Fatherland for his work on the Sputnik V vaccine.
Sputnik was the first registered combination vector vaccine against Covid.
Critics suggested the vaccine was approved without robust research into its safety and efficacy.
A 2021 article in The Lancet nonetheless claimed the vaccine “appeared safe and effective.”
In February, Russian General Vladimir Makarov was found shot dead in an apparent suicide at his country home.
He had recently been fired from his top job of ‘combating extremism’ in Russia.
In December, a Russian sausage tycoon was found dead after falling out of a window to his death while staying at a hotel in India.