“The chief toxicologist at the Siberian hospital who was the first to treat Navalny, Alexander Sabaev, said he initially suspected poisoning and that he and his colleagues treated him accordingly,” Reuters reported on Sunday.
“Navalny was put on a ventilator and into an induced coma and given the emergency drug atropine,” Sabaev said. This treatment protocol “is in line with usual treatments of Novichok victims,” a medical source allegedly familiar with Navalny’s German test results told Reuters. Atropine is one of the first treatments used to counteract Novichok’s immediate effects, which include slowing heart rate, fluid on the lung, and permanent nerve damage.
Sabaev said he and his fellow doctors changed their minds on the suspected poisoning after Navalny’s test results came back six hours later with no traces of poison in his system.
“As a toxicologist I am sure. There was no Novichok there,” Sabaev said.
Instead of a poisoning, Navalny likely suffered from “a metabolic disorder,” Sabaev said, noting that Navalny’s “blood sugar levels were four times higher than normal and that he had pancreatic problems.” However, Reuters says it interviewed “other Omsk-based medical sources” that dispute Savaev’s “metabolic disorder” diagnosis.