What is Novichok?

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What is Novichok?

Do you really know?

What is Novichok? Thanks for asking!

Novichok is a family of chemical agents which disrupts communication between nerves and muscles. Its name means newcomer in Russian and it was developed in closed laboratories during the Cold War, as part of the Soviet Foliant programme.

The international community only discovered the existence of Novichok in the early 1990s, after a Russian chemist revealed the truth about the programme in a Moscow daily newspaper.

In early September 2020, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny came out of the medically induced coma he had been in for three weeks. Tests carried out at a military laboratory in Germany, where Navalny was hospitalised, showed that he had been poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.

The substance exists in two forms: liquid, which can be mixed into food or drink; and solid, as a powder.

Is Novichok poisoning lethal then?

Novichoks bind to the acetylcholinesterase enzyme, known as AChE for short. Its role is to break down the acetylcholine neurotransmitter when released into synapses. 

Symptoms of novichok poisoning can include nausea, spasms, heart failure and respiratory arrest, leading to death through suffocation. The lack of oxygen can quickly lead to significant brain damage. 

Novichok agents are at least five times as lethal as other chemical agents such as VX or Sarin. Anyone who has been poisoned needs immediate medical attention if they are to survive.

In the case of Navalny, he started feeling the effects of the poisoning on August 20th, while on a flight from Siberia to Moscow. He was then quickly evacuated to Berlin in a medical airplane.

Although Navalny has now come out of his coma, doctors can’t rule out long-term effects.

 

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What is Novichok? Thanks for asking!

Novichok is a family of chemical agents which disrupts communication between nerves and muscles. Its name means newcomer in Russian and it was developed in closed laboratories during the Cold War, as part of the Soviet Foliant programme.

The international community only discovered the existence of Novichok in the early 1990s, after a Russian chemist revealed the truth about the programme in a Moscow daily newspaper.

In early September 2020, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny came out of the medically induced coma he had been in for three weeks. Tests carried out at a military laboratory in Germany, where Navalny was hospitalised, showed that he had been poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.

The substance exists in two forms: liquid, which can be mixed into food or drink; and solid, as a powder.

Is Novichok poisoning lethal then?

Novichoks bind to the acetylcholinesterase enzyme, known as AChE for short. Its role is to break down the acetylcholine neurotransmitter when released into synapses. 

Symptoms of novichok poisoning can include nausea, spasms, heart failure and respiratory arrest, leading to death through suffocation. The lack of oxygen can quickly lead to significant brain damage. 

Novichok agents are at least five times as lethal as other chemical agents such as VX or Sarin. Anyone who has been poisoned needs immediate medical attention if they are to survive.

In the case of Navalny, he started feeling the effects of the poisoning on August 20th, while on a flight from Siberia to Moscow. He was then quickly evacuated to Berlin in a medical airplane.

Although Navalny has now come out of his coma, doctors can’t rule out long-term effects.

 

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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