A top scientist who helped develop Russia's Covid-19 vaccine was found dead in his apartment in Moscow on Thursday, according to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. Andrey Botikov, one of the 18 scientists who worked on the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in 2020, was found murdered in his apartment.
Botikov, according to reports, had been strangled with a belt in northwest Moscow. He worked as a senior researcher at the Gamaleya National Research Center for Ecology and Mathematics. His death is being investigated as a murder, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation said in a Telegram statement.
Another Suspicious Death
The committee said in a statement that Botikov was murdered ruthlessly. "According to the investigation, on March 2, 2023, in an apartment building located on Rogova Street in Moscow, a 29-year-old young man, during an argument, strangled the 47-year-old owner of the apartment with a belt and fled the scene," the committee said in a statement on Friday.
"The body of the 48-year-old man was found... with strangulation marks, several stab wounds and abrasions were found on his body," Mash reported.
It was initially reported that he survived the attack after an intruder broke into his home and began arguing with him over money.
However, it was later reported that Botikov had died.
A 29-year-old man has subsequently been detained and accused of killing the scientist. The suspect attempted to flee the scene but was quickly tracked and arrested, according to the Investigative Committee of Russia.
They committee claimed that the suspect admitted to the crime while being questioned.
"In the shortest possible time, the location of the attacker was established. During the interrogation, he admitted his guilt, he was charged. Previously, the defendant was prosecuted for committing a serious crime," the agency said in a statement.
Motive Still Unclear
The suspect was previously prosecuted for committing another "serious" crime, according to the committee's report. Russian media identified the suspect as "Alexei Z," a formerly imprisoned individual who served 10 years for sex crime allegations.
According to local media reports, the event looked to be the consequence of a money dispute between the scientist and the suspect, according to reports from Russia's Mash outlet.
Botikov was a senior researcher at the National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology. He had previously served as a senior scientist at the Russian State Collection of Viruses D.I. Ivanovsky Institute of Virology.
His work on the Sputnik V vaccination earned him an Order of Merit for the Fatherland from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Sputnik V was the first combination vector vaccine against Covid-19. Critics claimed that the vaccine was approved without adequate research concerning it efficacy and safety.
However, according to a 2021 article in The Lancet, the vaccine "appeared safe and effective."
Botikov's murder comes days after General Vladimir Makarov of Russia was found shot dead at his rural residence in February, apparently by suicide. He had lately lost his top position fighting radicalism in Russia.
A Russian sausage tycoon was found dead in December after falling out of the window to his death while staying in an Indian hotel.