Gregory Koblentz and Stefano Costanzi, members of the Center’s Scientists Working Group on Biological and Chemical Security, authored a paper in NCT Magazine about controlling Novichok nerve agents in light of recent events.
Since Novichok nerve agents came to public attention following a high-profile assassination attempt in 2018, the international chemical weapons nonproliferation regime has taken important, but incomplete, steps to reduce the risk of these chemical weapons proliferating. The Chemical Weapons Convention has added some Novichok agents to its list of chemicals subject to declaration and verification and the Australia Group has included some Novichok precursors to its list of dual-use chemicals that should be subject to export controls. However, gaps in coverage of Novichok agents and precursors by the chemical weapon nonproliferation regime remain in a way that can be exploited by proliferators. We recommend adopting a family-based approach to controlling Novichok agents and precursors and leveraging advances in cheminformatics to facilitate implementation of this more comprehensive approach to nonproliferation and export controls. Read more