(Reuters) Putin critic Navalny was poisoned with Novichok nerve agent, Merkel says. Quoting,
She said Berlin now expected Moscow to explain itself and that Germany would consult its NATO allies about how to respond, raising the prospect of new Western sanctions on Russia, sending Russian asset prices tumbling.
You read it here first: Alexei Navalny, Poisoned Again? The Russian Poison Trick. Quoting,
The modern syndrome is near-death, prolonged illness, partial recovery, and prolonged or permanent disability. It is characterized by stealth and extreme precision, a sub lethal dose of a substance so poisonous it completely evades standard toxicology. Vil Mirzayanov revealed the existence of the Novichok family of nerve agents in 1992, but hope for a “new Russia” delayed assessment of the threat.
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But you might have guessed as much if you read (NPR) Navalny Was Poisoned, But His Life Isn’t in Danger, German Hospital Says. Quoting,
Navalny is now being treated with an antidote called atropine; the medical team says there’s the possibility of long-term effects on his health and particularly his nervous system.
Treatment with atropine as the only named substance suggests a partial truth. Atropine is only part of a treatment protocol. Additional chemicals are required to reactivate cholesterinase, and scavenge loose Novichok. According to the inventors of Novichok, the bond is much harder to break than with VX. The Russians considered Novichok exposure to be untreatable, except for supportive care.
Since Porton Down chose not to disclose the protocol that saved the Skripals, it is reasonable to suspect that Charité Hospital told a little white lie, to protect British innovation.
How did the Germans or Brits determine the poison? The Raman microscope, with the ability to perform spectroscopy on microscopic quantities, is probably involved.