3 Sep 2020 19:46

Omsk medics disagree with German laboratory's conclusions on Navalny being poisoned with Novichok

OMSK. Sept 3 (Interfax) - The doctors who treated Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny in Omsk disagree with the conclusions of German specialists that he was poisoned, Alexander Sabayev, head of the acute poisonings department at Omsk Emergency Care Hospital No. 1, said on the Rossiya-24 television channel on Wednesday.

"Our opinions differ on this matter. Metabolic problems come to the foreground here, which is not characteristic of organophosphorous compounds [to which the nerve agent Novichok belongs]," Sabayev said, responding to a question as to whether the opinions of Russian and German doctors differ.

The German authorities said on September 2, citing the Bundeswehr laboratory, that traces of poison from the Novichok group had been found in Navalny's body.

"Chemical and toxicological tests were performed at three independent laboratories in the first eight hours of the patient's stay in the hospital. No toxic agents, including potent poisons such as organophosphorous compounds, were found in his blood or urine," Sabayev said.

Testing for the presence in the patient's body of organophosphorous and other potent substances was the first task set for the chemical-toxicological service in all three laboratories, he said.

A response was received literally several minutes after the chemical-toxicological tests began. Organophosphorous compounds were not confirmed.

"Organophosphorous poisonings are characterized by so-called mediator syndrome, which has somewhat different clinical signs. Yes, the patient had mosaic manifestations of the cholinergic syndrome. But [they were] mosaic and short, and therefore atropine was administered even in our clinic. But there was no classical picture of poisoning with organophosphorous compounds," Sabayev said.

Organophosphorous compounds are highly toxic substances and they cannot be used for poisoning one person, he said. That is, he believes that, if an attempt had been made to influence the patient with this substance before the flight or during it, symptoms of intoxication would have been observed in the people near him as well. Nevertheless, that did not happen.

"Let's not forget that the patient was on a plane in a closed space. Such substances are highly toxic and they cause fairly fatal changes in the body even in small doses," Sabayev said.

Sabayev also said lab tests had been performed for various spirits, narcotic substances, drugs of various groups, including sleeping, sedative, neuroleptics, and psychotropic. The range of toxicological studies was very broad. They also yielded a negative result.

At the same time, the patient was found to have high blood sugar levels and other signs of a serious metabolic problem in the first hours of his stay in hospital, which led the Omsk doctors to draw the conclusion that his state was not caused by outside impact.