How did the Novichok combat poison appear and why does it have such a strange name

How did the Novichok combat poison appear and why does it have such a strange name

Categories: Health and Medicine | History | Science

At all times, poison was considered the most effective and quiet way to deal with opponents. Poisoning has always been popular, because it was not necessary to engage in battle and even have a weapon with you to kill. The availability of poisons, which the world of plants, animals and minerals generously supplied to people, also played a role. Toxic substances have not lost their relevance today, but they have become more dangerous and are produced for military purposes. Like, for example, the Russian "Novichok". What is this poison and why is it called that?

How did the Novichok combat poison appear and why does it have such a strange name

In modern history, as opposed to antiquity and In the Middle Ages, poisons were used as a means of mass destruction. The Americans became famous for this during the Vietnam War, the Russians in Syria, and in During the First World War, Gaza was shamelessly used by all parties to the conflict. Although then the chance of survival for a person poisoned with mustard gas was relatively good. Poisons created at the end of the 20th century are much more deadly, but now their use is prohibited by international law.

How did the Novichok combat poison appear and why does it have such a strange name

Usually toxic substances are called mysterious combinations of letters, for example, VX. Or they come up with a unique name for them, as happened with sarin. The most famous and, they say, the most effective domestic product is called strangely — "Novichok".

The toxic substance "Novichok" refers to nerve poisons. This is not a single development, but a whole family, which includes products in liquid, gaseous and even solid form. All of them have no taste and smell, which means they are simply ideal for hidden use.

Russian experts claim that today there are no more than two dozen laboratories in the world capable of creating a "Novice". Yes, you heard right — the formula of this poison is no longer a secret and only a complex technology remains an obstacle to its production.

For revealing the formula of the poison, we can say thanks to one of its developers, chemist Vil Mirzayanov. This man moved to the West and just published formula A-234. This is one of the many varieties of "Beginner". So it is no longer necessary to talk about the secrecy of the main Russian poison.

How did the Novichok combat poison appear and why does it have such a strange name

But in the 70s, when the "Novice" first appeared, it was the most classified superweapon. It was 10 times stronger than the most poisonous substances known in the world. There was nothing like this in terms of effectiveness in the history of poisons. That is why scientists gave their brainchild a completely non-scary and symbolic name "Novice".

In an interview with the BBC, Vil Mirzayanov described the stages of poisoning with this poison. Like other nerve agents, Novichok disconnects a person's nervous system from his organs. The first sign of poisoning are narrowed pupils and a sharp deterioration of vision. Then convulsions begin, vomiting and breathing stops. The brain centers responsible for this vital process stop transmitting commands to the muscles.

When receiving a lethal dose, it is almost impossible to save a person. At the same time, scientists who created formidable chemical weapons were exposed to danger in the first place. Vil Mirzoyanov said that because of the high level of danger, chemists had to constantly monitor each other.

How did the Novichok combat poison appear and why does it have such a strange name

But even extreme caution could not prevent the tragedy. In 1987, while working with Novichok, chemist Andrei Zheleznyakov was poisoned. Although the victim was immediately injected with an antidote, his fate was sad. The scientist fell ill with hepatitis, which quickly turned into cirrhosis of the liver. After that, his legs became numb, his ability to read disappeared and his memory was severely impaired. 5 years after the poisoning Zheleznyakov died of a stroke.

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