Udayavni Special

What is Novichok, the nerve agent which was used to poison Alexei Navalny?


Team Udayavani, Sep 4, 2020, 1:27 PM IST

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a variant of Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent

According to CNN, Navalny, who fell ill on a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow last month, is being treated at a Berlin hospital.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said toxicological tests on samples taken from Navalny had been carried out at a German military laboratory, providing “unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent” from the Novichok group, Soviet-era chemical weapons

Novichok, a group of nerve agents developed by Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, is said to be 10 times more lethal than nerve agents like VX and sarin.

It is used for a family of highly toxic nerve agents with a composition slightly different from the better known poison gases VX and sarin.

Novichok paralyses muscles, slows the heart, and if the dose is big enough it can lead to death by asphyxiation. Novichok can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin or ingested.

Novichok was made with agrochemicals so that its production could more readily be hidden within a legitimate commercial industry

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