(CNN)Malaysian police have revealed the substance that killed Kim Jong Nam was a highly toxic nerve agent more commonly used in warfare.
What is it?
VX nerve gas was first developed in the UK in the 1950s as a deadly chemical warfare agent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The gas is an oily liquid that’s amber in color, but it’s both odorless and tasteless.
Nerve agents, like VX, are the most toxic and deadly chemical warfare agents — they’re chemically similar to pesticides, although far stronger.
VX is the most potent of all nerve agents, including Sarin.
Where is it found?
The only known use of VX is for chemical warfare — the deadly gas is not naturally found in the environment.
VX is believed by the CDC to have been used for chemical warfare during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
How does it work?
VX, if in vapor form, is the quickest and deadliest form of the killer gas. As a liquid, it could potentially be released into a water supply or used to poison someone’s food.
Like all nerve agents, VX stops a vital enzyme from working — which eventually leads to the body tiring, and no longer being able to breathe.
VX is not only the deadliest nerve gas, but also the most persistent in the environment — it evaporates slowly, especially in cold conditions, making it both a long- and short-term threat.
What are the symptoms?
Depending on how much a person was exposed to, symptoms will start occurring either immediately or up to 18 hours later.
Large doses of the nerve gas can cause convulsions, loss of consciousness, paralysis and death, because of respiratory failure.
Smaller, non-fatal doses can cause a wide range of symptoms that include increased heart rate, blurred vision, nausea, diarrhea, drooling, pain and weakness.
Even just small doses of the gas can cause confusion and drowsiness.
Are there long term effects?
Those who are exposed to large amounts of the gas are unlikely to survive.
There are antidotes for VX exposure available and they are most effective when administered immediately.
What is VX nerve agent?