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12 Jan, 2024 15:30

Covid vaccine pioneer dies

Boris Naroditsky was responsible for creating the adenovirus vector platform that served as the basis for the Sputnik-V shot
Covid vaccine pioneer dies

One of the lead developers of the Russian Sputnik-V coronavirus vaccine, Boris Naroditsky, has died at the age of 82, the chief researcher of the Gamaleya Epidemiology and Microbiology Research Center, Anatoly Altstein, announced on Thursday.

The virologist did not specify the cause of Naroditsky’s death, whom he called “the main creator of the Sputnik-V vaccine.”

His death was also confirmed by the head of the Gamaleya Research Center, Alexander Gintsburg, who called it a “huge” personal loss, admitting that he had often consulted with Naroditsky on various topics, including scientific problems and organizational issues.

Deputy Director of the Gamaleya Center Denis Logunov, who was formerly a student of Naroditsky, also noted that the scientist was the “founding father” of the human adenovirus vector platform, which served as the basis for the development of the Sputnik-V in 2020.

Professor Naroditsky, who held a doctorate in biological sciences, had conducted research on adenovirus-based vectors since the 1980s. In 2002, he started working at the Ivanovsky Institute of Virology – a unit of the Gamaleya Center. There, he served as the chief researcher and head of the Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology of Bacteria, later becoming the center’s deputy director for scientific work. 

Throughout his career, Naroditsky had written over 200 scientific papers and held over 20 copyright certificates and patents for his inventions. For his work on developing the Sputnik-V vaccine, Naroditsky was awarded the Order of Honor for his contribution to national healthcare.

In August 2020, the Sputnik-V Covid-19 vaccine was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin as one of the first to be developed in the world. Since then, the jab, which has shown up to 97.8% efficacy with no serious adverse events, has inoculated millions of people in the nearly 70 countries that have approved its use, including Argentina, India, Serbia, Hungary, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates, among others.