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CBRNE – Nerve Agents, V-series – Ve, Vg, Vm, Vx


Nerve agents are compounds that have the capacity to inactivate the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE).
The first compounds to be synthesized were known as the G-series agents (“G” stands for German): tabun (GA), sarin (GB), and soman (GD).
These compounds were discovered and synthesized by German scientists, led by Dr Gerhard Schrader, prior to and during World War II.

In 1954, the British first synthesized O-ethyl S-(2-diisopropylaminoethyl) methylphosphonothioate, the most important agent in the V series and coded in the United States as “VX”. The V-series weapons, including VX, are among the most highly toxic chemical warfare nerve agents (“V” stands for venomous). The V agents are approximately 10-fold more poisonous than sarin (GB).

The V-series agents are part of the group of persistent agents, which are nerve agents that can remain on skin, clothes, and other surfaces for long periods of time due to low volatility characteristics. The consistency of these agents is similar to oil; thus, the inhalation hazard is less than with the G agents. This consistency thus renders them toxic mainly by dermal exposures.

The other agents in the V series are less known, and the information available about their characteristics is fairly limited in the open, unclassified literature. The other agents also have coded names, including VE, V-gas, VG, and VM (see Table 1 below). This article discusses VX as the prototype of the V-series nerve agents. Table 1. Code and Chemical Names for the V-Series Agents

Table. (Open Table in a new window)

Code Name

Chemical Name


O-Ethyl-S-[2(diisopropylamino)ethyl] methylphosphonothioate


O-Ethyl-S-[2-(diethylamino)ethyl] ethylphosphonothioate


O,O-Diethyl-S-[2-(diethylamino)ethyl] phosphorothioate


O-Ethyl-S-[2-(diethylamino)ethyl] methylphosphonothioate


Russian equivalent of VX


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