Russia is spreading lies about COVID-19 vaccines, alleges UK Chief of Defence Staff

pharmafile | October 1, 2020 | News story | Research and Development Hackers, Russia, Russians, coronavirus vaccine 

Russia is sowing disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines to undermine inoculation efforts in Western aligned countries, according to a top UK military official. 

General Nick Carter, the Chief of Defence Staff, believes Russia has been using social media to spread lies about the development of coronavirus vaccines. For example, in July a fake press release was posted to websites in East Ukraine which claimed the US had conducted vaccine trials on Ukrainain volunteers which resulted in some deaths. This was then spread across social media in Western countries. 

In July, Britain accused Russia of targeting vaccine trial sites across the West. A Russian collection of hackers called Cozy Bear were found to be targeting the AstraZeneca vaccine. This same group gained notoriety in the West from breaking into the US Democratic Party’s computer servers. They have used malware and fraudulent emails to try and trick Oxford University and AstraZeneca employees into turning over passwords and security credentials. Russia has publicly denied these allegations. 

Carter said that countries like Russia “see the strategic context as a continuous struggle in which non-military and military instruments are used unconstrained by any distinction between peace and war. Their goal is to win without going to war: to achieve their objectives by breaking our willpower, using attacks below the threshold that would prompt a war-fighting response.”

The UK has a unit called 77 Brigade to specifically combat propaganda and disinformation from its adversaries, but it is not clear how broad its scope of operations is nor what it is doing to respond to the wave of coronavirus disinformation coming from Russian backed groups.

Conor Kavanagh

Related Content

Spanner in the works for Sputnik V as missing data reported

Developers of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine have repeatedly failed to present data to regulators, …

RDIF & Stelis Biopharma to supply 200 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Stelis Biopharma have today announced a partnership which …


First interim Phase 3 data shows promise for Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine

The first interim Phase 3 data for Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine have been released …

Latest content