Novichok creator talks Skripal and his daughter’s chances of survival

Novichok creator talks Skripal and his daughter’s chances of survival
Vil Mirzayanov

Novichok creators say it is the “most powerful and unique chemical weapon in the world.”

One of the creators of the neuro-paralytic agent used to poison former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal living in the UK talked to the BBC Russian Service about an antidote for Novichok, as well as Skripal and his daughter Yulia’s chances of survival.

The fact there is an antidote does not mean the victims will recover, according to Soviet chemical scientist Vil Mirzayanov who now lives in the USA.

Miotic pupils and worsened eyesight are symptoms of Novichok poisoning, Mirzayanov noted. Convulsions and irregular breathing kick in if a higher dose is administered. Initial care in case of Novichok poisoning includes administering of atropine and aphin (cholinolytic agents used as antidotes for organophosphorus toxic agents).

More potent antidotes had been developed, according to Mirzayanov. They can stop the poisoning, yet are not able to cure victims.

Skripal and his daughter can be saved, Mirzayanov believes. However, there will be some permanent damage no matter what.

Mirzayanov apologized to Sergei Skripal during the interview. He is “very sorry he had participated in the development of this weapon.”

Let us remind you that former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found in Saulsberry on March 4, 2018. They showed signs of severe poisoning. Sergei Skripal had been convicted of treason in Russia and then sent to the UK in a spy swap. The two have suffered from the Novichok neuro-paralytic agent developed in the USSR, UK PM Theresa May stated.

Novichok-like neuro-paralytic agents had been developed in the late 1980s by the Federal R&D Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology. Its creators say Novichok is the “most powerful and unique chemical weapon in the world.” It is believed to be 5 to 10 times as poisonous as the VX agent used to poison North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s brother.

Meanwhile, one alternative design for the agent requires nothing but regular organophosphate compounds produced at fertilizer or pesticide plants, according to Vil Mirzayanov. This allows for covert production of the chemical weapon and circumvention of laws prohibiting such activities, the scientist said.

There has never been a project with codename Novichok in either Russia or the USSR, former UN biological weapons inspectors in Iraq and military expert Igor Nikulin told REN-TV. Russia has never produced this toxic agent and it has never been on the list of its weapons, while in 1999 the USA closed the Uzbekistan plant that used to produce, according to Nikulin.

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