Though American laboratories stopped producing nerve agents around 1970, after the production of so-called third-generation nerve agents like sarin and VX, Soviet scientists continued their work for two decades, producing a “fourth generation.”
The Novichok nerve agents came in solid form, like a powder or thick paste, and would not register on the chemical detector paper that NATO troops used.
A chemist who worked in the laboratory developing Novichok accidentally inhaled fumes while filling a syringe, and collapsed. Though he was injected with an antidote and eventually awoke, he suffered from depression and epilepsy and died five years later, leaving Vil Mirzayanov, a scientist who helped develop the agent, deeply disillusioned.
“Antidotes exist, but what does antidote mean?” Mr. Mirzayanov, who had leaked the project to the press and later immigrated to the United States, told Sky News on Tuesday. “You’re saving a person who has been exposed to this gas — but temporarily, not to die this time. But he will be an invalid for the rest of his life.”..."eventually." Yikes!