A Russian scientist who was working on a Covid-19 vaccine was found dead. Police concluded that he “fell out of a building” in St. Petersburg.
According to reports, the man, Alexander “Sasha” Kagansky, died with stab wounds on his body.
Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets (MK) reports that Kagansky fell from the 14th floor of a building in St. Petersburg wearing just his underwear. Russian police are treating the incident as a homicide. They are questioning another man about the death.
MK noted that Kagansky, a biologist with close ties to the University of Edinburgh, had been working on creating a coronavirus vaccine “under strange circumstances.”
He was working as the Director of the Centre for Genomic and Regenerative Medicine at Russia’s Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok. He was recently invited to speak at the World Science Forum in Budapest with some of the world’s top scientists.
The Kremlin had claimed that government scientists had already successfully developed a coronavirus vaccine, but Kagansky was working on a vaccine anyway. The Russian government’s vaccine, “Sputnik V,” is already being distributed nationwide, despite never completing Phase III trials. It is unknown whether Kagansky’s research was connected to his murder.
International health experts are doubtful about the the safety and efficacy of Russia’s “Sputnik V” vaccine. It was approved in August, despite not completing large-scale advanced trials.
American filmmaker Oliver Stone claimed he had taken Sputnik V., and socialist countries, such as Argentina and Venezuela, placed orders for millions of doses for their own nationwide programs.
Kagansky is the latest Russian official, scientist, or health worker to die under mysterious circumstances since the pandemic began. At least five people have died after “falling” out of windows in different parts of the country since February alone.
In nearly all the cases, the victim appeared to have challenged or criticized the Russian state’s handling of the pandemic. So far, health authorities have recorded nearly 2.9 million cases and more than 51,000 deaths, the fourth-highest number worldwide. The real number could be much higher.