Novichok

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There was little information on novichoks in 2016

Sources

See also Poisoning of Sergei Skripal
  • Нервно-паралитические отравляющие вещества - Russian Wikipedia
    According to unconfirmed officially sources (Lev Fyodorov, Vil Mirzayanov) in the 1970s the work on the creation of a series of third generation nerve agents under the general designation "Novice" began in the USSR. According to Mirzayanov, this work continued, at least until the 90-s inclusive. There is no reliable information on the structure and properties of these substances.
  • Novichok agent - Wikipedia
    One of the key manufacturing sites was the Soviet State Scientific Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIOKhT) in Nukus, Uzbekistan. Small, experimental batches of the weapons may have been tested on the nearby Ustyurt plateau. It may also have been tested in a research centre in Krasnoarmeysk near Moscow. Since its independence in 1991, Uzbekistan has been working with the government of the United States to dismantle and decontaminate the sites where the Novichok agents and other chemical weapons were tested and developed.
    According to a classified (secret) report by the US Army National Ground Intelligence Center in Military Intelligence Digest dated 24 January 1997,[53] agent designated A-232 and its ethyl analog A-234 developed under the Foliant program "are as toxic as VX, as resistant to treatment as soman, and more difficult to detect and easier to manufacture than VX". The binary versions of the agents reportedly uses acetonitrile and an organic phosphate "that can be disguised as a pesticide precursor."
    Mirzayanov gives somewhat different structures for Novichok agents in his autobiography to those which have been identified by Western experts.[54] He makes clear that a large number of compounds were made, and many of the less potent derivatives were reported in the open literature as new organophosphate insecticides,[55] so that the secret chemical weapons program could be disguised as legitimate pesticide research.
  • Novichok agent - Alchetron
  • What we know about Russia's Novichok nerve agents linked to attack on ex-spy - Emma Stoye, Chemistry World, March 13, 2018
  • Novichok – toxic questions about chemical at center of Skripal saga - RT, March 13, 2018
    Mirzayanov, who defected to the US several years later, reacted to the British prime minister’s accusations in a notable post on Facebook. “[May] said that ‘Novichok’ has been used in the assassination attempt on Skripal,” Mirzayanov wrote. “Its chemical formula has been published only in my book,” he said.
    His book, which allegedly contains the top-secret formula of the deadly nerve agent, is titled ‘State Secrets: An Insider's Chronicle of the Russian Chemical Weapons Program.’ Its paperback edition is available on Amazon and sells for just $30. If the formula is genuine, this is probably the first time a whistleblower has provided free access to a method of producing the highly poisonous weapon.
  • Doubts about “Novichoks” - Paul McKeigue and Piers Robinson, Working Group on Syria, Media and Propaganda, March 14, 2018
  • Bothered By Midgies - Craig Murray, March 15, 2018
    Structure which his opponent highlights in A-232, and shared by A-234, A-262, is essentially the one of tabun fluoride; tabun is German WW2 era. (I do not think opponent's rightmost N connects to the other N as in Mirzayanov; so have that right N dropped, then comment applies).--Resup (talk) 05:26, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
  • UK, Slovakia, Sweden, Czech Republic among most probable sources of ‘Novichok’ – Moscow - RT, March 17, 2018
  • The scientist who developed “Novichok”: - The Bell, March 20, 2018
    Highly plausible description of the development of 'Foliant' agents aka Novichok. (Mirzayanov was not the developer, just a security apparatchnik)
  • Novichok: the deadly story behind the nerve agent in Sergei Skripal spy attack - The Conversation, March 20, 2018
  • ‘Unknown’ newcomer novichok was long known - Karel Knip, nrc.nl, March 21, 2018
  • Former OPCW official: no conclusive proof of Russian complicity in Salisbury attack - Nafeez Ahmed, INSURGE intelligence, March 27, 2018
  • Novichok: What Do We Know? - Anton Utkin, RIAC, March 29, 2018
  • Some thoughts on A-234 and novichoks - Stephen McIntyre, April 1, 2018
  • Scientists Revise Their Understanding of Novichok After it Fails to Produce the Lethal Effects They Expected - Rob Slane, May 19, 2018

Russian sources?

Apparently details were not published in open Russian sources. What appeared either does not include details, or is derivative from Western publications (Mirzayanov book)

Synthesis?

  • Dave Collum, twitter, 21 May, 2018
    I asserted that any credible organic chemist could make novichok nerve agents (albeit not safely). Here is my final exam in my 1st year graduate organic synthesis course. Only one kid of 15 lost any points. Uniquely Russian technology my ass....
  • Russia dodges chemical arms ban Bill Gertz,THE WASHINGTON TIMES Tuesday 04 Feb 1997
Russia's State Scientific Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology created the agents and novel ways of making them to avoid detection by international inspectors. "By using chemicals not specified in the CWC schedules, the Russians can produce A-232 and its ethyl analog A-234, in unitary and binary forms within several chemical complexes," the report says.
The Russians can make the binary, or two-part, version of the nerve agent using a common industrial solvent, acetonitrile, and an organic phosphate compound "that can be disguised as a pesticide precursor.
In another version, soldiers need only add alcohol to form the agent, the report says.

Mirzayanov

  • 'Poisoned Politics', by Vil' Mirzayanov and Lev Fedorov, drs of chemical sciences, Moscow News N 38, September 20, 1992, reprinted here, and here
    Alleging that: New poisonous substance by far exceeding VX was created, and on its basis, original binary chemical weapon was developed...industrially produced batch, Spring 1991...tested later than 29 January 1992 in Uzbekistan...
    Noted that date of industrially produced batch is before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, ie it occured in the USSR, not in Russia
  • Mirzayanov case-Kommersant, April 29, 1993
    Some info about grounds for his arrest, said to be item 56 of one of the official secrets lists which reads: disclosing information about targeted experimental-engineering/design (опытно-конструкторских) work and scientific research in the interests of defense and security
    • Published law, dated 24 January 1998 has similar items, see eg items 32 and 33
  • "Chemical Weapons Disarmament in Russia: Problems and Prospects; Dismantling the Soviet/Russian Chemical Weapons Complex: An Insider's View" (PDF). Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, D.C. 17 October 1995
    p. 28 He worked in GNIIOKhT for 28 years, starting from monitoring air, water, emissions quality. His final position, chief of department of countering foreign technical intelligence
  • A scientist, an emigrant, a radical. Who is Mirzayanov, who developed the "Novichok"-Argumenty i Fakty (Kazan'), March 16, 2018
    Info about his Tatar nationalism involvement, among other things
  • From his interview to BBC, March 16, 2018
    VM: I want to say right away that I'm not a synthetic chemist (a specialist who is engaged in chemical synthesis - the BBC). I am not a creator, I am a participant in the creation of this weapon. And it was created by Pyotr Kirpichev, my good friend, with his group in our branch in Shihany (branch of the State Scientific Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology (GNIIOKhT) Shihany in the Saratov Region- BBC). And then, when this substance was synthesized, tests began. And in these tests my graduate students participated, and then myself. At the very end of the trial, the tests were held at the GNIIOKhT in Moscow, I was responsible for all these analyzes, my signature was final. So I participated.
  • Вил Мирзаянов: "Новичок" можно синтезировать или украсть, но применить его смогут немногие (Vil Mirzayanov: "Novichok" can be synthesized or stolen, but few can use it) - BBC, March 16, 2018
    BBC: You know the capabilities of your colleagues around the world in your field. Where, in your opinion, could the "Novichok" be synthesized?
    VM: Here in the States.
    BBC: Where exactly, do you think?
    VM: Well, there are several of these centers. Say, in Edgewall (Delaware) could do this, why not. There are very qualified chemists. It's easy.
    Moreover, information about the fundamental difference between the well-known "Novichok" in the skeleton of this formula has leaked out. (Unclear what exactly he means; in Rus. it is "Тем более, просочились сведения о принципиальной разнице между известным "Новичком" в скелете этой формулы.") And then, before me - even before my arrival - not less than five people from GNIIOKHT who knew these secrets came. I never said and will not say that they gave them away. But the probability is always there, so what is it about. They, Americans, also care about their defense, about weapons. About prestige.
    Where else? In China, of course. There are very strong chemists
  • Russian State Secrets, book promotion video by Vil Mirzayanov, 2009, from his youtube channel
  • Hillary Clinton Ordered Diplomats To Suppress 'Novichok' Discussions - Moon of Alabama, March 31, 2018
    Details on 'Novichok' nerve agents were published in a 2007 book by Vil Mirzayanaov, a Soviet scientist offered asylum in the United States.
    After the publication the U.S. and the UK actively suppressed international discussions about the book and the 'Novichok' chemical weapon agents. Documents from the U.S. State Department published by Wikileaks show that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton directed her diplomats to not talk about Novichok and to play down the matter should it arise in chemical

Lethality?

Rink: "This is a fair remark, because the Novichok is a very unstable substance, which depends on [exposure to] water, on alkalis, on everything. But then the experts would have found the products of hydrolysis, and certainly not a pure substance," https://sputniknews.com/europe/201804151063573543-novichok-creator-opcw-report/


  • Rybalchenko stated that “All that we know is that all substances of this class are very difficult to overcome in case of injuries, and the antidote therapy will hardly bring about the desired effect”. One review has stated (without citing a source) that inhibition of an enzyme known as neuropathy target esterase, which can cause delayed nerve damage, “is of primary concern for the Novichok agent”. Update to breifing note 'Doubts about Novichoks' 1st April 2018

A note about your comment on spam filters. Shoutwiki doesn't like the 'wrong type of video link'. For instance any link from domain youtu.be gets slammed but youtube.com is fine (and no damned sig button on this page!)

Leonid Rink

Vladimir Uglev

See also related discussion

  • The Bell Eng., Rus. , March 20, 2018)
  • Novichok developer explained Skripals' survival by their habit to wash hands -RBC, April 18, 2018
    Uglev denied Mirzayanov's claim that Novichoks decompose on contact with water. Just like all normal people, they wash their hands before eating, soaking with soap and water. A-234 - same as dirt. So they washed away part of the substance, and the rest could not kill them 100%, "Uglev said.

Uglev denied (see the Bell, above) that they are (truly) binary, making a comment like ...when hopes of having binary (CW) were dashed, ...(smth). I did not save exact link; will post if come across again. That comment can really mean that making it out of precursos if quite complicated and not 'kitchen-grade'. --Resup (talk) 13:20, 5 May 2018 (UTC)

- Nobody ever had a binary weapon. I believe that some of my colleagues, like me, fought over this idea, but I do not know of any binary sample for either VX or other poisonous substances. At least for the period until 1994.
In what form do nerve agents exist, which are called "novichok"?
Of the four drugs, only the latter, D-1980, can be a powder. The other three are liquid.

Salisbury samples?

  • Salisbury attack: Scientist Vladimir Uglev 'helped create Novichok' -BBC, April 19, 2018
    ......It has been identified in Russia by the code A-234. Uglev: "I can tell by the mass spectrometry readings, the presence of fluorine, by its molecular weight, and from all the spectrum data I was sent recently."
  • Moscow asks London to clarify whether it shares information with private persons (Eng.) (Rus) -TASS, April 21, 2018

Accident

25 April, 2018 It is said that Uglev was hit by a car, said to be by an old distracted driver. His injuries do not appear to be life threatening.

Western access to Novichok

Stability

Poisoning of Sergei Skripal‎

Main article: Poisoning of Sergei Skripal‎
  • Boris Johnson A Categorical Liar - Craig Murray, March 22, 2018
    Quotes the judgement at the High Court case allowing the OPCW to takie blood samples from the Skripals
    The Evidence
    i) CC: Porton Down Chemical and Biological Analyst
    Blood samples from Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal were analysed and the findings indicated exposure to a nerve agent or related compound. The samples tested positive for the presence of a Novichok class nerve agent or closely related agent.

Shikhany

Ukrainian chemical weapons?