Special: Biological and chemical weapons


”Si vis pacem, para bellum”, Vegetius ad. 379-395.

Novichok agents:

What are Novichok agents?
The name Novichok means 'newcomer' in Russian and applies to a group of advanced nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s.
One of the chemicals - called A-230 - is reportedly five to eight times more toxic than VX nerve agent, which can kill a person within minutes.
A number of variants of this chemical have been manufactured, and one of them was reportedly approved for use by the Russian military as a chemical weapon.
Some of the agents are also reported to be 'binary weapons', meaning the nerve agent is typically stored as two less toxic chemicals. When they are mixed together, they react to produce the more toxic agent.
What are the different types?
Novichok agents are one of three classes of nerve agents - the other two are G-Agents and V-Agents.
G-agents include Sarin while V-agents include VX, an oily amber-coloured liquid.

If you have ever sprayed insect repellent at a fly, you might have seen it drop to the ground and lie on its back, legs twitching. This is the result of nerve agents taking hold.



The nerve agent needs to be ingested, inhaled or to penetrate through the skin, so it usually requires the person delivering it to get very close to the people they are targeting.
Only tiny amounts are required for it to take effect. It is so toxic that it would usually be transported in something tightly sealed and those who apply it will need protective clothing.
Dr Andrea Sella, professor of inorganic chemistry at University College London, said because of the extreme toxicity of the nerve agents it would be "very dangerous" to the person who delivered the poisoning.




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