According to The Sun newspaper, security services have stated that they have proof that one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spies stole vital data from the drugs firm, including the blueprint for the Covid jab.
Russia’s Sputnik vaccine employs technology similar to that of the Oxford-designed vaccine.
The security teams are now certain that it was copied. According to the report, the data was stolen in person by a foreign agent.
Last year, spies blamed Putin, claiming that Russian state-sponsored hackers had targeted British, American, and Canadian organisations working on a Covid vaccine.
Late UK Security Minister James Brokenshire said at the time: “We are very careful in terms of calling these things out, ensuring we can have that confidence in attribution. We believe we have this here.”
Conservative MP Bob Seely, an expert in Russian affairs, said: “I think we need to get serious about Russian and Chinese espionage. Whether it is stealing the design for AstraZeneca or blackmailing us over energy by these authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, we need to get wise to them.”
The claims come just months after Putin confirmed receiving a shot of the Sputnik V vaccine while urging Russians to get vaccinated against Covid, according to the Daily Mail.