Question: What is the nerve agent known as “VR”?
Answer: The cited article notes: “A product of the arms race during the Cold War, the Russian VX, or VR, is an organophosphorus compound that is a structural isomer of the western VX compound (or A4), with which it shares a very high toxicity. It is much less studied and known than VX because the knowledge of its existence is relatively recent. A very low volatility and high resistance in the environment make it a persistent agent. Poisoning occurs mainly following penetration through skin and mucosa but vapour inhalation is a credible risk in some circumstances. The clinical presentation may be differed by several hours and despite the absence of signs and symptoms, the casualty should not be considered as contamination or intoxication-free. This agent has a long residence time in blood, a characteristics that clearly differentiates it from other compounds such as sarin. The protocols for antidote administration may thus have to be changed accordingly. The fact that VR poisoned individuals will less respond to the current oxime therapy used in France, the 2-PAM and that VR represents a higher threat than VX, being probably possessed by some proliferating states, justify the interest for this toxic product. (Cuquel AC et al. The VR, the Russian version of the nerve agent VX. 2015 Anns Pharm Francaises 73(3): 180-189)