Published on Feb 26, 2015VX — IUPAC name O-ethyl S-[2-(diisopropylamino)ethyl] methylphosphonothioate — is an extremely toxic substance that has no known uses except in chemical warfare as a nerve agent. It is a tasteless and odorless liquid. As a chemical weapon, it is classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations in UN Resolution 687. The production and stockpiling of VX was outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993.
The VX nerve agent is the best-known of the V-series of nerve agents and is considered an area denial weapon due to its physical properties.
Ranajit Ghosh, a chemist at the Plant Protection Laboratories of the British firm Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), was investigating a class of organophosphate compounds (organophosphate esters of substituted aminoethanethiols). Like Gerhard Schrader, an earlier investigator of organophosphates, Ghosh found that they were quite effective pesticides. In 1954, ICI put one of them on the market under the trade name Amiton. It was subsequently withdrawn, as it was too toxic for safe use. The toxicity did not go unnoticed, and samples of it had been sent to the British Armed Forces research facility at Porton Down for evaluation. After the evaluation was complete, several members of this class of compounds became a new group of nerve agents, the V agents. The best-known of these is probably VX, assigned the UK Rainbow Code Purple Possum, with the Russian V-Agent coming a close second (Amiton is largely forgotten as VG).
The Patriot novel series describes the use of VX by rebel forces against government officers.
“It’s in our fallen, sinful nature for tyrants to rise up in every nation. And unfortunately, it’s also in our nature that the vast majority in every nation is either too stupid or too apathetic to do anything about it until the tyrants have put up their barbed wire and spilled a lot of blood.” - Protagonist Todd Gray, in Patriots