Alastair Hay, Professor of Environmental Toxicology at Leeds University, explained to Sky News how the Skripals’ “miracle” recovery became possible.
“The nerve agents are deadly. That’s why they were chosen as chemical weapons. If you are exposed to a number of lethal doses then invariably it is fatal,” he said, adding that they have an impact on the nervous system, leading to cardiac arrest and even asphyxiation.
According to Hay, the pair survived due to the decent medical care they received at the hospital.
“In a way it is a miracle really. But also a testimony to our NHS: great doctors well-trained, looking after people appropriately and well. So it’s the skill of our doctors that’s ensured their survival. Without it, I’m pretty certain they would not have survived.”
The toxicology expert elaborated that there was no magic cure for nerve agent poisoning, and that “doctors treating the Skripals would have been a bit in the dark about some aspect of their treatment” because “a very specific (antidote) to target the nerve agent and pull it off an enzyme that is blocked is just not known.” He assumed that the medics were likely to have given several general antidotes to Sergei and Yulia.
Skripals are Novichok-Free
“The nerve agents are eventually metabolized and excreted from the body. So it’s highly unlikely there is any nerve agent present… after even a couple of weeks,“ Hay told the media outlet.
Social media users seem not to trust their own government, questioning the Skripals’ “miracle” awakening and wondering whether there was ever any nerve agent involved.
Especially as people who recover can talk to the press. Oh, dear! Is that the truth I see coming home to roost?!— Starchild #PCPEU 🌹 (@ThisStarChild) 7 апреля 2018 г.
First they say pets taken away, now they say they cruelly let them starve to death. Suddenly Mr #Skripal is making a recovery after cousin's phone call with Yulia reveals same. #Boris says Porton Down categoric, then backtracks as Porton scientist says not. Trust our government?— Neil Harding (@NeilHarding) 6 апреля 2018 г.
Poisoned ex-spy Sergei Skripal no longer in critical condition, improving rapidly https://t.co/CmqzhUJs8M— Ian56 (@Ian56789) 6 апреля 2018 г.
Another "miraculous" recovery from "the most toxic nerve agent known to man"#Skripal pic.twitter.com/Ppz5BD6Pds
Last week he was going to be brain damaged and permanently disabled.— Maryse Goodall (@maryseinleeds) 6 апреля 2018 г.
Honestly, with the apparent recovery of the Kripals, it really makes one wonder if a 'military grade' Novichok nerve gas was really used in the Salisbury Skripal Event.— Doug Bell (@realDougBell) 5 апреля 2018 г.
Some recalled that the authorities described Novichok as the most lethal nerve agent… which “failed to work”:
Sergei skripal has made a miraculous recovery from that super lethal 5th generation, ultra slow acting, totally non fatal novichok nerve agent!— The thin end of the wedge (@casual_front) 6 апреля 2018 г.
The plot thickens….
I've read and listened to many discussions. It's my understanding that if a "military grade" #Novichok nerve agent was in fact used death would be imminent. Novichoks are said to be "five to 10 times more lethal" than VX which killed Kim Jong Un's brother. https://t.co/l2eq05DSpG— Azra (@PeaceOnEarth222) 5 апреля 2018 г.
Others made an interesting observation:
So, four weeks on, and the only causalities so far in this entire affair are two guinea pigs and a cat. Which the UK starved to death.— EMD69 (@EMD69) 6 апреля 2018 г.
While the UK has accused Russia of the attack on the former spy and his daughter, claiming that the substance, allegedly used to poison the Skripals, was developed in Russia, the British military research center at Porton Down was unable to prove that the nerve agent was made in Russia, although they managed to identify it as Novichok. Social media users and the leader of the Labor Party quickly reminded the British public that UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had made a misleading claim on the origin of the Novichok nerve agent, saying that it was a Russian-produced substance.
British authorities have insisted that Novichok was a deadly military-nerve agent, with doctors saying that Skripals would never recover and may have suffered life-long brain damage.