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US News Novichok nerve agent: What exactly is it?

00:45  13 march  2018
00:45  13 march  2018 Source:   news.sky.com

Salisbury policeman is a 'super boy'

  Salisbury policeman is a 'super boy' The policeman who fell seriously ill after the nerve agent attack in Salisbury has been described by a family friend as a "super boy" who steps beyond expectation.  Police sergeant Nick Bailey, 38, is being treated in hospital after ex-Russian Spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found collapsed on a bench.He remains in a serious condition although he is now stable and able to talk.It had been thought that the policeman may have been exposed to the nerve agent when he administered CPR at the scene.

Novichok (Russian: новичок meaning "newcomer" or "newbie") is a series of nerve agents that were developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s. Allegedly these are the most deadly nerve agents ever made, with some variants possibly five to eight times more potent than VX

Novichok nerve agents were developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 80. THERESA May has accused Russia of killing former double agent Sergei Skripal using deadly nerve agent novichok . What is novichok and where is it developed?

Traces of a nerve agent were also found at Salisbury's Zizzi restaurant © Getty Traces of a nerve agent were also found at Salisbury's Zizzi restaurant The poison used to target a former spy and his daughter is Russian-made nerve agent novichok, the PM has said. The chemicals are among the most deadly nerve agents ever created.

:: Who made it?

There are more than 100 formulations in the novichok family, all developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s.

Novichok is the Russian word for "newcomer".

:: How did it get here?

Video: British PM points finger at Putin's Russia (Wochit News)

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Andy Oppenheimer, a biological and chemical specialist, has told Sky News the chemical could have been brought into the UK through an airport.

'It's torture. You cannot imagine the horror': Scientist who helped create the lethal nerve agent Novichok used to attack Russian spy in Salisbury reveals its terrifying effects

  'It's torture. You cannot imagine the horror': Scientist who helped create the lethal nerve agent Novichok used to attack Russian spy in Salisbury reveals its terrifying effects The Russian whistleblower Vil Mirzayanov who exposed the country’s secret chemical weapons programme spoke last night of the horrific effect of the Novichok nerve agents on their victims. Vil Mirzayanov described the use of the lethal toxins as a 'brazen' attack by Vladimir Putin, who 'thinks he can use everything to kill enemies'.Mr Mirzayanov says a large dose of Novichok 'paralyses' victims before 'it causes convulsions, you can't breathe and after that you die'.The exiled scientist shocked the world in 1992 when he revealed that promises by the Soviet Union to reduce its chemical weapon stockpiles were hollow.

Additionally, Novichok nerve agents “can be made with common chemicals in relatively simple pesticide factories” – making it more difficult to detect its manufacture and regulate the raw materials used to make it .

Novichok is part of a group of nerve agents considered to be the most lethal in the world, and the Russian government has been producing it for decades. In a statement, May requested that Russia help her government understand exactly what happened.

"These things can evade detection if they are very small amounts and very well shielded, whether they are biological, chemical or a biological agent," he says.

"This chemical may have come through an airport, we really don't know yet."

:: How is it used?

Novichok agents are dispersed as an ultra-fine powder rather than a gas or vapour.

They can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin.

:: What are the symptoms?

Soldiers wearing protective suits work at an ambulance station in Salisbury, Britain, March 10, 2018 © Reuters Soldiers wearing protective suits work at an ambulance station in Salisbury, Britain, March 10, 2018 As with other nerve agents, the chemicals block acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme active in the nervous system.

The result is involuntary contraction of all muscles, leading to cardiac arrest and asphyxiation.

Russian Diplomats To Be Thrown Out Of The UK In Response To Salisbury Chemical Attack

  Russian Diplomats To Be Thrown Out Of The UK In Response To Salisbury Chemical Attack Russian diplomats are set to be thrown out of the UK in response to the attempted murder of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.Theresa May announced on Wednesday afternoon that 23 diplomats have a week to leave the country, making it the single biggest expulsion of diplomats for over 30 years.

Some of these agents are binary weapons, in which precursors for the nerve agents are mixed in a munition to produce the agent just prior to its use. During the 1980s and 1990s, binary versions of several Soviet agents were developed and are designated as " Novichok " agents .

However, the enzyme interfered with by any nerve agent is also associated with vital brain functions. ‘Complex and difficult care’. The specialist, who asked not be identified, said: “If this is a Novichok agent , it is a very specialist area

:: Is washing clothing enough?

Dr Jenny Harries, deputy medical director at Public Health England, has said the "immediate risk to the general public remains low".

She advised people who were in either The Mill pub or Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury on Sunday March 4 to wash any clothing they were wearing, wipe personal items including phones or handbags with baby wipes and to wash hands thoroughly.

Mr Oppenheimer says the advice was just a "precaution".

SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 06:  A man walks past Zizzi Restaurant in town centre, where a man and woman had been found  unconscious two days previosly, on March 6, 2018 in Salisbury, England. The man is believed to be Sergei Skripal, 66, who was granted refuge in the UK following a 'spy swap' between the US and Russia in 2010. The couple remain critically ill after being exposed to an 'unknown substance'.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) © Getty SALISBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 06: A man walks past Zizzi Restaurant in town centre, where a man and woman had been found unconscious two days previosly, on March 6, 2018 in Salisbury, England. The man is believed to be Sergei Skripal, 66, who was granted refuge in the UK following a 'spy swap' between the US and Russia in 2010. The couple remain critically ill after being exposed to an 'unknown substance'. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) He told Sky News: "Unlike a conventional explosive device going off, it really has a kind of a spread, it will produce particular symptoms.

Moscow says will retaliate soon to Britain's expulsion of diplomats

  Moscow says will retaliate soon to Britain's expulsion of diplomats Moscow on Wednesday called Britain's decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats over the poisoning of an ex-spy a sign that London was choosing confrontation with Russia, adding that retaliation would follow shortly. "The British government made a choice for confrontation with Russia," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Likewise, not every nerve agent might be easily absorbable through skin. Novichoks . Given the Salisbury situation, it is important to note that a nerve agent that had not been mass produced for military purposes was used.

The PM said it was "highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei Skripal" using an extremely rare nerve agent called novichok , which is said to be ten times stronger than VX gas.

"I would have thought those symptoms would have emerged by now and all the advice is a precaution."

:: Is there an antidote?

All nerve agents have an antidote in atrophine, but it needs to be administered as soon as possible.

The problem is it can take time to diagnose that a nerve agent has been used.

:: Does it contravene international law?

Former Russian military intelligence colonel Sergei Skripal attends a hearing at the Moscow District Military Court in Moscow on August 9, 2006. Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent whose mysterious collapse in England sparked concerns of a possible poisoning by Moscow, has been living in Britain since a high-profile spy swap in 2010. Police were probing his exposure to an unknown substance, which left him unconscious on a bench in the city of Salisbury and saw media draw parallels to the case of Alexander Litvinenko, an ex-spy who died of radioactive polonium poisoning in 2006.  / AFP PHOTO / Kommersant Photo / Yuri SENATOROV / Russia OUT        (Photo credit should read YURI SENATOROV/AFP/Getty Images) © Getty Former Russian military intelligence colonel Sergei Skripal attends a hearing at the Moscow District Military Court in Moscow on August 9, 2006. Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent whose mysterious collapse in England sparked concerns of a possible poisoning by Moscow, has been living in Britain since a high-profile spy swap in 2010. Police were probing his exposure to an unknown substance, which left him unconscious on a bench in the city of Salisbury and saw media draw parallels to the case of Alexander Litvinenko, an ex-spy who died of radioactive polonium poisoning in 2006. / AFP PHOTO / Kommersant Photo / Yuri SENATOROV / Russia OUT (Photo credit should read YURI SENATOROV/AFP/Getty Images) Novichok is "highly illegal", "extremely powerful" and created to avoid detection, says Mr Oppenheimer.

Opinions | Boris Johnson: Britain needs its allies to stand with us against Russia

  Opinions | Boris Johnson: Britain needs its allies to stand with us against Russia The bleak truth is that what happened in Salisbury could have happened anywhere. I interpret this incident as part of a pattern of reckless behavior by President Vladimir Putin. The common thread that joins the poisonings in Salisbury with the annexation of Crimea, the cyberattacks in Ukraine, the hacking of Germany’s Parliament and Russian interference in foreign elections is the Kremlin’s reckless defiance of essential international rules.Most tellingly of all, Russia has made immense efforts to conceal the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria.

A powerful Russian nerve agent has been used on the streets of the UK, according to Theresa May. Novichok have been said to be the most deadly nerve agents ever made. And they were used on former spy Sergei Skripal, who was poisoned in Salisbury days ago.

Novichok nerve agents were developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 80. THERESA May has accused Russia of killing former double agent Sergei Skripal using deadly nerve agent novichok . What is novichok and where is it developed?

Significantly, several of the novichok chemicals are so-called binary weapons - with two non-toxic precursor chemicals that can be mixed prior to use.

This makes them safer to transport and handle.

One of these is novichok-5, derived from the highly potent A-230 chemical. Its precursor chemicals are ordinary organophosphate pesticides and can be legally made at agricultural chemical manufacturers.

According to Dr Vil Mirzayanov, who worked on the novichok programme in the Soviet Union until he fled to the US, the legitimate use of precursor chemicals was deliberate as it meant they were not placed on the controlled list of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

:: Who could be behind it?

This is an alleged  image of the daughter of former Russian Spy Sergei Skripal,  Yulia Skripal taken from Yulia Skipal's Facebook account on Tuesday March 6, 2018. British counterterrorism police said Tuesday that they are now leading the investigating into the unexplained illness of a former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, although it hasn't been declared a terrorist incident. The Skripals were taken ill in Salisbury southwest England on Sunday. (Yulia Skripal/Facebook via AP) © AP This is an alleged image of the daughter of former Russian Spy Sergei Skripal, Yulia Skripal taken from Yulia Skipal's Facebook account on Tuesday March 6, 2018. British counterterrorism police said Tuesday that they are now leading the investigating into the unexplained illness of a former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, although it hasn't been declared a terrorist incident. The Skripals were taken ill in Salisbury southwest England on Sunday. (Yulia Skripal/Facebook via AP) Theresa May told the Commons her Government has concluded it is "highly likely" Russia is responsible for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

The PM said the attack, using a "military-grade" nerve agent, fits a pattern of Russian aggression and said Russia's ambassador to the UK has been summoned to explain what happened.

She said: "We will not tolerate such a brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil."

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has told the Russian ambassador that Moscow must "immediately provide full and complete disclosure" of its novichok nerve agent programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Moscow has been given until the end of Tuesday to respond, Mrs May said.

If Russian involvement is proved, it will be considered an "unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom", she added.

Mr Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, remain in a critical condition more than a week after they were found slumped unconscious in Salisbury.

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'Nonsense' that Russia behind spy poisoning, says Vladimir Putin .
<p>In his first public comments on the nerve agent attack, the Russian president says Moscow is ready to work with the UK government.</p>Vladimir Putin has dismissed claims that Russia was behind the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury as "nonsense".

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