What is Nerve Gas? Is Nerve Gas Dangerous? How Does Nerve Gas Kill?

What is Nerve Gas? Is Nerve Gas Dangerous? How Does Nerve Gas Kill?
What is Nerve Gas? Is Nerve Gas Dangerous? How Does Nerve Gas Kill?

📩 26/10/2023 15:26

It was noted that the occupying Israeli army would use nerve gas and chemical weapons to enter the tunnels of Palestinian resistance groups. So what is a nerve gas? What are the effects?

Nerve gas is a chemical substance that enters the body through inhalation, injection or penetration through the skin and damages neurons (nerve cells), causing involuntary contraction and death in the body.

These substances, which are generally used as chemical weapons, are mainly Tabun, Soman and Sarin.

Armies that want to get quick results in wars with conventional weapons have wanted to gain superiority over their enemies by using various Chemical, Biological and Nuclear agents throughout history. Chemical agents have been used repeatedly as chemical weapons in many wars, from ancient Greece to the recent Syrian civil war. We can categorize the agents used as chemical weapons into four main groups.

1) Nerve gases (G-group, V-group and A-group)

2) Caustic gases (Mustard gas, Sulfur mustard, Levisite, Phosgene, Oxime)

3) suffocating gases (fosgen, diffosgen, chlorine, chloropicrine)

4) Blood poisoning agents (Cyanide, Cyanogen chloride)

Capacity disrupting agents, riot suppressing agents and herbicides can also be added as additional groups.

First Generation Nerve Gases (G-group nerve gases)

The most commonly used chemical agents in modern times have been caustic and asphyxiating gases. With their widespread use in World War I, their unforeseen destructive and widespread effects were seen, and the use of these agents in subsequent wars was prohibited. In 1936, Gerhard Schräder, who conducted scientific research on synthetic insecticides in Nazi Germany, synthesized more than 2000 organophosphate-based synthetic compounds. When it was realized that these compounds were extremely toxic to humans and animals, due to military and political pressure of the period, his studies turned from civilian insecticide research to military nerve gas studies. Organophosphate pesticides are a class of organophosphorus compounds whose general structure is the unique chemical property of a phosphorus atom and a characteristic phosphoryl bond (P = O) or thiophosphoryl bond (P = S); They inhibit the enzyme Acetylcholinesterase and Butyrylcholinesterase in insects but also in humans and many other animals. As a result, the degradation of acetylcholine stops, it accumulates, and the clinical picture known as Cholinergic Syndrome occurs. Depending on the toxic potency of the agent, clinical symptoms may range from mild to severe and even lead to death within minutes. Ethyl dimethylphosphoramidocyanidate (Tabun, GA), which is highly toxic among organophosphates, was the first nerve gas synthesized. This was followed by propan-2-yl methylphosphonofluoridate (Sarin, GB). Other nerve gases produced in this group were 3,3-dimethylbutan-2-yl methylphosphonofluoridate (Soman, GD) and cyclohexyl methylphosphonofluoridate (Cyclosarin, GF). These became known as 'First Generation Nerve Gases' and were named "G-Group" agents, after both the manufacturer's name and Germany. The Germans used these gases during World War II. They never used it in World War II.

Sarin gas was used in the 19 Matsumoto sarin attack and the 6000 Tokyo subway sarin attack in Japan, in which a total of 1994 people were killed and approximately more than 1995 people were affected.

Second Generation Nerve Gases (V-group nerve gases)

II. After World War II, England was impressed by Germany's experience and technology in this field, and in 1951, British Ranajit Ghosh and JF Newman introduced a new type of toxic organophosphate compound as a nerve gas in Porton Down laboratories. This new compound was named VX (Ethyl ({2-[bis(propan-2-yl) amino] ethyl}sulfanyl)(methyl)phosphinate). In 1955, VG (O,O-diethyl S-[2-(diethylamino)ethyl] phosphorothioate) (also known as Amiton or Tetram), which was weaker than VX but too toxic to be used in agriculture, was discovered. In the following years, they synthesized their own derivatives of this substance called VR (RVX) in the USSR and VC (CVX) in China. The USA transferred nerve gas technology from England and created its own chemical weapons depot at Newport Chemical Depot in 1961. This group was called 'V-group' agents, meaning 'Second Generation Nerve Gases' or Venom.

VX was used in the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, by spraying him in the face at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the capital of Malaysia, on February 13, 2017.

Third generation nerve agents

The gas state of chemical agents was very toxic, even if they were not used in many stages from production to transport, storage, protection and destruction, at all stages. The laboratories in the US, looking for a solution to this, discovered bilateral agents in the 1950s. The dual agent were compounds of two or more agents, which were toxic, but not toxic on their own when they were brought together. In this way, two or more chemicals, which were harmless alone, could be produced separately and safely transplanted and stored. Toxic effective agent was obtained only in war or when it was combined before the attack. Previous generation agents selected for this technology were Sarin (GB2), Soman (GD2) and VX (VX2) derivatives; The "2" figure added to the end of the code name showed that the agent was in dual structure. Binary agents in this group were also called 'third -generation nerve gases'.

Fourth Generation Nerve Gases (A-Grubu Nerve Gases)

In the 1960s, while the Cold War was showing its full impact in the political arena, the USSR, the dominant Eastern bloc countries that did not want to fall behind the nerve gas research in the Western Bloc countries, was developing its own double agent production technology program (FOLIANT) in the secret military chemical laboratory GosNIIOKhT. Since no information about this new generation, which was carried out extremely secretly in the 1970s, was leaked, the Western bloc was not aware of these studies for many years. However, as the USSR collapsed in 1991, the first information about this secret technology began to emerge. The new generation nerve gas was mentioned for the first time in an article in the 1990s by two scientists, Vil Mirzayanov and Lev Fedorov, who worked in this laboratory. In this article, scientists warned that the USSR may have produced a new generation chemical nerve agent that could not be detected in Western and NATO countries (6). The Russian Federation, which inherited the legacy of the USSR, signed the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) with the USA in 1993 and subsequently did not accept any claims regarding chemical weapons research. Therefore, it is assumed that research on these new chemicals in Russia was conducted between the 1970s and the 1990s. International community organizations banned the use of chemical and biological weapons after World War I, and the Chemical Weapons Convention completely banned their development, stockpiling and transfer in 1 and 1972. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which was established in 1993, encourages the countries that signed the CWC, of ​​which Turkey is also a party, to comply with the rules in the agreement and to destroy the chemical weapons in their possession. Mr., who served as the president of this organization on behalf of Turkey between 1997 and 2010. During the reign of Ahmet Üzümcü, the organization received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018.

This new generation of double agents, developed during the USSR period, was named Novichok, which means "newcomer" in Russian. The designation “Novichok” refers to the innovative form of the agent, and the final compound is referred to by its code number (e.g., A-230). The first series of compounds synthesized was A-230, a sarin derivative, which is thought to later produce the nerve agents codenamed A-232, A-234, A-242, and A-262. A-232 and A-234 (methoxy and ethoxy analogues of A-230, respectively) show similar toxicity to RVX but appear to be much more volatile and less stable on hydrolysis. A-242 and A-262 (guanidine analogues of A-230 and A-232, respectively) were probably the first solid neurotoxic agents synthesized. These double agents were called “A-group” or new generation “Novichok” group agents, referring to their code names in the project. These are also considered 'Fourth Generation Nerve Agents' in historical chronology.