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German physicians publish case report on Navalny’s treatment for ‘Novichok’ poisoning

Source: The Lancet

A team of physicians from the Charité Hospital in Berlin, where Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny was treated following his poisoning in August, have published an article in the scientific journal The Lancet on the case of a 44-year-old man from Russia suffering from Novichok nerve agent poisoning. While the patient isn’t identified in the scientific article itself, the Charité Hospital confirmed in a press release that the case report details Navalny’s treatment. 

In the article, titled “Novichok nerve agent poisoning,” the doctors note that although identifying a specific toxic substance is a difficult and time-consuming task, this didn’t affect their treatment strategy. Navalny’s clinical symptoms and a simple test allowed them to diagnose him with “severe poisoning with a cholinesterase inhibitor” and they administered treatment accordingly. The fact that the substance used to poison Navalny was later identified as a Novichok-type nerve agent didn’t impact the course of treatment.

According to the German doctors, the fact that Navalny was intubated and put on a mechanical ventilator in the first hours after the onset of his symptoms played a decisive role. However, they were unable to discern whether the fact that he was treated with atropine when hospitalized in Russia mattered. The doctors concluded that Navalny’s good health prior to the poisoning likely played a role in his recovery.

Commenting on the publication, Alexey Navalny underscored that the case report includes no mention of diabetes or pancreatitis, which were previously mentioned as possible diagnoses by doctors at the hospital where he was treated in Omsk, as well as by representatives of Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

On December 14, Bellingcat, The Insider, CNN, and Der Spiegel published an investigation implicating a special FSB sub-unit in poisoning Alexey Navalny with a Novichok-type nerve agent in August 2020.

Alexey Navalny said that such an operation couldn’t have been carried out with the approval of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In turn, Putin himself dismissed the investigation as a “legalization of materials from the American intelligence services.”

On December 21, Alexey Navalny shared a video revealing that he had managed to fool one of the federal agents identified in the ‘Bellingcat’ investigation into detailing the Kremlin’s poisoning operation.

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