Scientists Revise Understanding Of Novichok After It Fails To Produce Expected Lethal Effects

Authored by Rob Slane via The BlogMire blog,

Warning: This article is likely to contain traces of satire.

In the aftermath of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on 4th March, scientists are currently re-evaluating their understanding of A-234 - or Novichok as it is more commonly known. Prior to the poisoning, it had been thought that the substance was around 5-8 times more toxic than VX nerve agent, and therefore that just a tiny drop would be likely to kill a person within minutes or possibly even seconds of them coming into contact with it. In the unlikely event of a person surviving, it was believed that their central nervous system would be completely destroyed, and that they would suffer numerous chronic health issues, including cirrhosis, toxic hepatitis, and epilepsy before dying a premature and miserable death, probably within a year or so.

However, according to an anonymous source at the Porton Down laboratory, which is located just a few miles down the road from Salisbury, scientists now believe they may have completely misunderstood the properties and effects of the chemical:

“All the available information we had about Novichok before March this year suggested that it was by far the most lethal nerve agent ever produced, and we had assumed that even the tiniest drop would kill a person within minutes. However, after studying the movements of the Skripals after being poisoned, we have now revised our understanding, and we now believe that one of its primary effects is to generate in its victims a strong desire to go out for a beer followed by a pizza.”

Yet it’s not only the effects of the substance that have led to this reappraisal, but also its mysterious ability to move about from location to location, seemingly at will. According to the source:

“At first, differing reports of the location of the poisoning baffled us. First it was the restaurant, then it was the pub, followed by the bench, the car, the cemetery, the flowers, the luggage, the porridge, and then finally the door handle three weeks after the incident. However, we now believe we have an explanation for this phenomena. When Novichok was developed, we think it may have been given the ability to appear in one place, only to then disappear and turn up in an entirely different place.

This is what we saw in the Skripal case, where the media would assure the public that investigators had found the source of the poisoning, only to report a day or two later that it wasn’t in fact there at all, but somewhere else entirely. It’s all remarkably clever, and it seems to have been specifically designed to generate the impression to the uninitiated that investigators are simply making it up as they go along.

Another quality of the substance, which at first puzzled the scientists, is its apparent ability to multiply:

“We now know that the substance was poured on a door handle,” said the source.

“Yet according to all our experiments where we’ve replicated this scenario, no matter how carefully we’ve poured liquid on a door handle, what we’ve found is that it has an uncanny tendency to run off, leaving a fairly insignificant amount. Yet we know that from this tiny amount, the substance has been turning up in multiple hotspots around Salisbury. The most probable explanation for this, we think, is that the along with it being developed to appear, disappear and reappear in various places, it was also developed with the alarming ability to replicate itself.”

Asked why this hasn’t led to the deaths of hundreds or thousands of residents in the City, the source pointed back to their revised conclusion of the effects of Novichok as being more likely to lead to a craving for beer and pizza than to death.

They also mentioned another surprising revision that they have had to make, which is the seemingly mundane way in which objects that have come into contact with Novichok can be decontaminated:

“Given our prior understanding about the toxicity of Novichok, we had of course assumed that cleaning it up could only be done by specialists wearing protective clothing,” said the source.

“And so when Public Health England advised people who thought they might have come into contact with it to wash their clothes and wipe their phones with baby wipes, I must admit we were a bit surprised. None of the research papers out there mentions baby wipes as being an effective method of treating exposure to Novichok, and we did wonder whether they were perhaps talking about another chemical altogether. But of course they can’t have been, can they? Still,” he added with a wry smile, “I guess it all goes to prove the old saying: you learn something new every day.”

Yet, although the new discoveries of the properties of Novichok mentioned above have taken the scientific community by surprise, the one that is causing the most excitement is the revelation that it can apparently render its victims invisible:

“To be frank, this has created a huge buzz,” said the source.

“I mean, the Skripals apparently came into contact with Novichok over two months ago, as did Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. And yet since then nothing has been seen of any of them. It’s almost as if they’ve vanished into thin air, a bit like Bilbo Baggins at his 111th birthday party when he slips the Ring of Power on.

And it’s not just the scientific community that is excited about the potential this might have. The Magic Circle has also a expressed an interest in knowing more about the substance, since its ability to make those who come into contact with it disappear without trace could potentially be a huge addition to the illusionist’s toolkit.

However, any excitement that this might bring comes with considerable caution. According to a spokeswoman for the Magic Circle:

“Of course we’re bound to be interested in the existence of a substance that can make a person disappear. However, whilst making someone disappear is great, what we’d really like to see is their reappearance at some point. Otherwise, I think it unlikely that it will ever catch on amongst our members.”

My previous (and less satirical) pieces on the Skripal Case:

Comments

francis scott … Mon, 05/21/2018 - 02:43 Permalink

its primary effects is to generate in its victims a strong desire to go out for a beer followed by a pizza.”

 

Or steal a poster off a wall in a hotel in Pyongyang.

 

hannah francis scott … Mon, 05/21/2018 - 13:43 Permalink

how incompetent are the spy agencies now......if the left hadnt started the 'russian collusion' shit we wouldnt know about any of the fisa or spy agency involvement. their bullshit opened all of this to the public. the idea that someone in a meeting discussing what needs to be in the dossier actually stated.....'lets have trump piss on hookers in the very room obama stayed in'.....they ALL thought it was a great idea to have the pissing shit in the dossier...?!?!?!?.......hahahahahahahahahahaha....and these are the worlds best secret agents and political genius....!

In reply to by francis scott …

rtb61 TheSilentMajority Mon, 05/21/2018 - 06:28 Permalink

An interesting one though. The Skripals might not have been in on it and the most likely poisoner Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey  dosed himself, hence the need emergency services in the messy out of control way. More a psychotropic agent to enable the scenario to play out, rather than the risk of an actual nerve agent, in case things went wrong, like of the poisoners were to accidentally poison themselves, necessitating a whole hero story to build cover.

There seems a pretty disturbing high likelihood the Skripals will not survive or at the very least not reappear until all traces of the psychotropic agent are gone, even in hair, likely the will appear with short hair.

In reply to by TheSilentMajority

Arctic Frost rtb61 Mon, 05/21/2018 - 10:03 Permalink

 

A psychotropic agent? If that’s the case then obviously May, M16 and all of Parliament went through that door with the poisoned handle. Perhaps they all went strolling through the park one day, maybe in the merry merry month of May, they might have been taken by surprise, by a pair of espionage eyes, so upon a bench perhaps they did stray. 

In reply to by rtb61

mog vaporland Mon, 05/21/2018 - 06:22 Permalink

I want to know why no British animal charity hasn't called for an accounting.

RSPCA

Cats Protection

Blue Cross.

I belong to two out of the three.

Not a dickey bird.

So some animals can be starved to death but others can't

Absolute hypocrites the lot.

They have let down every animal in Britain - now we know they are politically motivated and not actually caring of gross cruelty when inflicted by the state - and who else?.

Pass the bucket - they are pathetic wimps and a  disgrace.

 

In reply to by vaporland

Frito Mon, 05/21/2018 - 03:35 Permalink

I see untapped potential commercial applications for these Novichok agents. Particularly in licensed pizzeria's. Some sort of aerosol device around the general area of the business could boost sales dramatically.

WTFUD Mon, 05/21/2018 - 03:40 Permalink

Not having a scientific background, would it be silly of me to inquire if the suspected Novichok Agent could have in fact been Rat Poison, which i'm informed gives you a terrible thirst?

Talking about rats how's Rodent Rosenstein getting on these days at the DOJ, been awfully quiet of late? 

Joe A Mon, 05/21/2018 - 03:50 Permalink

At pizza hut they are experimenting with it to make sure people get a craving for their pizzas. Just think of all the possibilities.

 

Hilarious article.

Obamanism666 Mon, 05/21/2018 - 04:09 Permalink

NATO Developing new Biological protection by covering the battlefield Noddy suits in door knobs.

Note: The Swiss lab received the samples from British Police weeks after the attack and it seems the Novachok had not degraded, it was like it was fresh just added.

quasi_verbatim Mon, 05/21/2018 - 04:13 Permalink

My theory is that the cat was sprayed with Novichok and sent in as an unguided missile to take out the guinea pigs.

But if you buy dud Novichok from the Putin Cut-Price Budget Bazaar what can you expect?

BritBob Mon, 05/21/2018 - 04:54 Permalink

Anyone still doubt that Russia was responsible?

As of 04/07/2018 at 05:49 AM EDT, HuffPost reports that Russia has over 20 explanations for the Skripal poisoning.

Now, why would a “normal”, “decent” country have more than 20 explanations? Reference is made to Professor Mark Galeotti, senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations in Prague who said that it is more effective to blast out a cloud of different theories as different people will respond to different ideas. In other words, it's psychology.

But if all those “different” people know that Russia has come out with more than 20 “different” explanations, shouldn't they ask who would come out with more than 20 possibilities? Would it be someone who is totally innocent or someone who is totally guilty?

To put it more directly, when the policeman picks you out in the street, takes you to the station, sits you down in an interview room and proceeds to ask you loads of questions about an offence about which you know absolutely nothing, do you just answer the questions with the truth and to the best of your ability? Or do you come out with more than 20 different, and silly, “explanations”?