A Russian scientist who developed the first Covid-19 vaccine, the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, was found dead in his apartment, strangled by a belt.

The culprit was located shortly after the death the scientist, Andrey Botikov, and admitted to carrying out the deadly attack.

Botikov was one of eighteen scientists who helped develop Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine and received national recognition from Russian President Vladimir Putin for his efforts.

While investigating authorities chalked his death up to a ‘domestic dispute’, Botikov’s murder follows a series of deaths of scientists and businessmen in the country in the last two years where foul play was suspected.

Botivok’s death follows reports from leading investigative agencies, such as the Department of Energy and FBI, reaffirming the claim that the Covid-19 virus originated in a lab in China, rather than in a wet market.

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Social media users were quick to speculate that Botivok’s death was politically motivated, with some saying that he died because he was about to reveal damaging information about the Covid-19 vaccine.

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A top Russian scientist who helped develop the country’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine was found dead in his apartment on Thursday, according to a Telegram post by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.

The death of Andrey Botikov, who worked as a senior researcher at the Gamaleya National Research Center for Ecology and Mathematics, is being investigated as a murder, the statement said.

According to investigators, a 29-year-old man strangled the 47-year-old virologist with a belt during an argument and fled.

A suspect was arrested shortly after Botikov’s body was found in his apartment in Moscow.

“The location of the attacker was established in short order. During the interrogation, he pled guilty and was charged,” authorities said, according to Russian News Agency TASS.

The committee added that the attacker had previously stood trial for “committing a serious crime,” The investigators plan to “petition the court to place the defendant in custody pending trial.”

Botikov was one of 18 scientists who helped create Russia’s COVID vaccine in 2020 and was awarded an Order of Merit for the Fatherland by Vladimir Putin in 2021, per The Daily Beast.

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