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Brother of British Novichok victim claims that nerve agent came from a perfume bottle

Emergency workers in protective suits search around John Baker House Sanctuary Supported Living after a major incident was declared when a man and woman were exposed to the Novichok nerve agent on July 6, 2018 in Salisbury, England. The woman, Dawn Sturgess, later died from Novichok poisoning. The brother of the other victim said that the Novichok had come from a perfume bottle.(Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

The brother of one of the two recent U.K. victims poisoned with the Russian-made nerve agent Novichok has said that he knows the nerve agent came from a perfume bottle. British authorities have not confirmed these claims and have so far only revealed that it came from a "small bottle."

What poisoning?

On June 30, Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley were poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok. Novichok had been developed by the Russian government during the Cold War.

Investigators later confirmed that it was "highly likely" that the Novichok that Sturgess and Rowley came into contact with was from the same batch that had been used in an attempted assassination on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal four months earlier.

Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, had been poisoned by Novichok that had been placed on the front door of Skripal's home in Salisbury, England.

Sturgess died on July 8. Rowley is still hospitalized, but has regained consciousness. He is reportedly cooperating with police and is, understandably, very upset over Sturgess's death.

What did the brother say?

Matthew Rowley, the brother of Charlie Rowley, said that his brother had told him that the nerve agent had come from a perfume bottle.

“Charlie told me ‘we found a perfume bottle’ and apparently the perfume bottle is where it came from,” Rowley said.

Matthew Rowley also spoke about his brother's struggles in the hospital.

“I don’t think his mental state is good," he said. "I think he is going a bit stir crazy in hospital but I spoke to a doctor and he said Charlie is being monitored 24/7 and nothing can happen to him.”

While they have so far not confirmed the existence of a contaminated perfume bottle, police have revealed that the Novichok came from a "small bottle" that they found inside Rowley's home. Authorities have confiscated more than 400 items in total from Rowley's home and other sites the couple may have visited leading up to their symptoms. They say that many of these could also be contaminated by Novichok.

Experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have been requested to assist in the investigation.

What else?

The investigation into this poisoning has been moving slowly. A lot of that is do to how lethal Novichok is. The Guardian reports that authorities are taking blood samples from everyone who enters any of the potentially contaminated sites being investigated. Those samples are then compared to a baseline to check for any contaminants.

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