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The British government believes a "Novichok" Russian nerve agent was used for the attempted assassination of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter on March 4 . Here's what we know about the chemical weapon: WHAT IS IT? Novichok – or "newcomer" in English – refers to a group of powerful and deadly chemical compounds reportedly developed by the Soviet government in the 1970s and 1980s, some of which were adopted by the Soviet army in 1990 .The Novichok agents are believed to have been created by Soviet authorities at the State Scientific Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology.Russian President Vladimir Putin declared in September that Russia had eliminated all of its declared chemical weapons.The British government has not revealed how the nerve agent was administered to the Skripals, but a Russian whistleblower said it would have "probably" been deployed in an aerosol.NOVICHOK WORK?All nerve agents, such as the Novichok chemicals and the better-known VX and sarin, attack the informational loop in the body between the brain and muscles.The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported one case of a Novichok agent being used in a criminal act in 1995 when assassins killed a businessman and his secretary by contaminating his telephone.
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