A top Russian scientist with close links to Edinburgh University who was ‘working on a Covid-19 vaccine’ has been found dead in suspicious circumstances in St Petersburg.
Biologist Alexander ‘Sasha’ Kagansky, 45, best known for his work on fighting cancer, was reported to have fallen in his underwear from a 14th floor window of a high rise residential building.
He also had a stab wound on his body, according to Moskovsky Komsomolets (MK).
The news comes as seven Russian coronavirus patients plunged to their deaths from hospital windows earlier this year.
The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a murder probe into the death of Dr Kaganksy and a 45-year-old male suspect has been detained.
Dr Kagansky – an assistant professor in Vladivostok – had been working in Edinburgh for 13 years until at least 2017.
He was lately Director of the Centre for Genomic and Regenerative Medicine at Russia’s Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, where he continued research collaboration with the Scottish university.
MK reported that the academic had been ‘developing a vaccine against coronavirus’ and that he died ‘under strange circumstances’.
The report gave no further details about which of a number of international Covid-19 vaccines he was supposed to have been working on.
He had gone to St Petersburg to visit the graves of his relatives, and had gone to see an old school friend named Igor Ivanov, said one account.
Police believe there was a ‘scuffle’ before Kagansky fell, according to a report.
Dr Kaganksy’s murder brings the number of coronavirus-linked window falls in Russia to eight, all but one of them fatal
His body was found by a woman resident under a block on Zamshin Street in Russia’s second city in early afternoon yesterday (SAT). Law enforcement are investigating the circumstances of his death, say reports.
The committee said today a St Petersburg resident, aged 45, had been detained as a suspect, and a criminal case for murder had been opened following the discovery of the body ‘with signs of a violent death’.
Between 2005 and 2012, he worked at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh, as a postdoctoral research associate then a senior research associate.
He had recently received a Russian grant to study new ways of diagnosing and treating malignant brain tumours.