German authorities say Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with Novichok.
Novichok is the same nerve wrecker that was used to poison the former Russian spy and his daughter in 2018.
Here are some facts about Novichok and what its symptoms are on the body;
1. What is Novichok and what are the symptoms?
Novichok is a highly toxic neuroprotective agent that can slow down the heart, paralyze the muscles used for breathing, and can even cause death from shortness of breath.
In general, all nerve agents contain highly toxic chemicals which can be gases, aerosols, or liquids, which poison the nervous system and interfere with bodily functions.
The nerve agent can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or ingested through poisonous food or drink.
The most dangerous thing about this poison, namely its form that looks clear and colorless.
It also doesn’t smell or have a faint sweet smell.
Novichok is believed to be five to 10 times more deadly than other nerve agents such as Sarin gas or VX.
2. Where did Novichok come from?
All nerve agents are man-made.
George Braitberg, an emergency toxicologist and professor of emergency medicine at The University of Melbourne, told the ABC that the development of Novichok began in the USSR between 1970 and 1990.
Professor Braitberg also said that when The Chemical Weapons Convention went into effect in 1997, the Soviets believed that if they discovered something new that was not categorized in the convention, they could not be said to have violated the convention.
“When you translate Novichok [from Russian], it means ‘newcomer’ or ‘newbie’, so it’s one of the newest nerve agents.”
The first neuroprotective agent, Sarin, was developed in Nazi Germany in the late 1930s as a pesticide and was followed by VX, which was developed by the British in the 1950s.
3. So what happened to Alexei Navalny?
On August 20, Navalny fell ill on a flight from Siberia to Moscow and fell into a coma.
The 44-year-old was then taken to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk and placed on an artificial pulmonary ventilator in an intensive care unit.
A few days later he was flown to Germany for treatment.
German doctors conducted extensive tests but declined to comment on the case while the results were still pending.
Then, overnight, the German Government announced that toxicological tests of a blood sample proved “beyond a doubt” that Navalny was poisoned by Novichok.
Until now, Mr. Navalny is still in hospital in Berlin.