A Russian agent swiped the formula for the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine to use for the country's Sputnik jab, ministers have reportedly been told.

UK security services now have 'proof' an agent stole the blueprint from the pharmaceutical company in person – along with other vital data, it ’ s claimed.

both jabs are adenovirus vaccines, meaning they use other viruses to teach the body's immune agent that then destroy the coronavirus.

Russia was first accused of targeting the UK, US and Canada by the Government last year.

Late security minister James Brokenshire said he was 'more than 95 % sure' Russian intelligence agencies were responsible for attacks on drug companies and research groups.

He said : 'We are very careful in terms of calling these things out, ensuring that we can have that confidence in attribution.

Tory MP Bob Seely, an expert in Russian affairs, said :' I think we need to get serious about Russian and Chinese espionage.

President Vladimir Putin confirmed that he had received Russia's Sputnik V shot earlier this year

he told the sun : 'whether it is stealing the design for astra- zeneca or blackmailing us over energy by these authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, we need to get wise to them."

It comes after a report in 2020 concluded Russia 'poses immediate and urgent threat to UK national security '.

They found 'no evidence' Vladimir Putin sought to influence the 2016 Brexit referendum, but only because the Government didn ’ t investigate this.

Downing Street has refused to comment.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca jab and the Sputnik vaccine work in similar ways (Picture: Reuters)

Security sources are reported to have told ministers that they have evidence Kremlin spies stole the blueprint for the Covid jab and used it to design their own vaccine.

In September the results from two early clinical trials done in Moscow and published in the British journal The Lancet indicated Russia's Covid-19 vaccine, which uses similar technology to the Oxford jab, was safe and effective.

The Russian scientists behind the studies said the jab stimulated an immune response in all inoculated participants and did not cause any serious health issues.

Production of antibodies seen in the patients suggested the vaccine was able to prepare the body to be able to fend off Covid-19.

Two early clinical trials done in Moscow this year indicated Russia's Covid-19 vaccine was safe and effective. Pictured: Russia's Sputnik V jab

Independent Western scientists said the results were 'somewhat reassuring' but warned the trials were too small and narrow to justify injecting millions of Russians.

Just 76 people were involved in the study, only half of whom were actually jabbed, and volunteers were all healthy and mostly in their 20s and 30s.

The trials took place in two hospitals in Moscow, the Burdenko Hospital and Sechenov University Hospital.

so i chose to be vaccinated with the russian formula.

Or 94 per cent?

Russian spies stole the blueprint for the Oxford vaccine and used it to create their own Sputnik V jab, according to reports.

home office minister damian hinds refused to confirm the reports but said cyber attacks were becoming more sophisticated.

He told LBC : "We live in world, I am afraid, where there is state activity seeking to engage in industrial espionage and economic espionage, there are cyber attacks that happen and so on.

"i won't comment on the specific case that you mention because that wouldn't be right to do in detail, but it would be fair to say, correct to say, that we face threats of this type that are different, they are more sophisticated, they are more extensive than they ever have been before.

"The face of espionage, the face of spying, is very different from when you and I were growing up and we need to constantly upgrade our capability.

These are very serious matters."

Russia responded to last year's allegations that it attempted to steal British Covid-19 vaccine research by suggesting the local vaccine was sufficiently ahead of the competition to have "no reason" to snoop.

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