Doctors detail treatment with Navalny poison in medical journal

BERLIN (AP) – German doctors who treated Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, after he was poisoned by a nervous agent, detailed the case in an article for a major medical journal.

Berlin’s Charite hospital said on Wednesday that Navalny had given his permission for the article to be published in The Lancet.

Navalny fell ill on a domestic flight in Russia on August 20. After an emergency landing and treatment at a Siberian hospital in Omsk, after two days of political strife, Navalny was taken to Berlin in a private air ambulance on 22 August.

The European Union imposed sanctions on six Russian officials and a state research institute after tests by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons established that Navalny had been exposed to the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok. The Kremlin, which denies involvement in the poisoning, retaliated with its own sanctions against EU officials.

In their newspaper article, Charite’s doctors detailed the exact course of Navalny’s disease and treatment with a variety of medications to treat their symptoms and the underlying medical condition.

As Navalny’s condition improved, he emerged from an induced coma and doctors determined that the speech and speech difficulties he had initially shown after waking up disappeared after three weeks.

“At the last follow-up visit on the 55th, we found almost complete recovery from neurological, neuropsychological and neurophysiological findings without evidence of polyneuropathy,” they wrote.

It is the first clinical case study detailing Novichok poisoning, although the symptoms and treatment are similar to those of exposure to organophosphate pesticides, which claim more than 100,000 lives in Asia each year.

Navalny’s doctors note that his patient “had a very favorable result” and attribute this to the rapid treatment he received in Russia.

Last week, a joint investigation by the research group Bellingcat and various media claimed that agents from Russia’s FSB home security agency followed Navalny during his travels since 2017.

Navalny, who is currently convalescing in Germany, posted a video of a phone call to one of the alleged agents this week, who said the poison was applied to Navalny’s underwear. The FSB classified the call as a fake.