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Military DictionaryDOD Joint Acronyms & Abbreviations
Tabun, a nerve agent
  
Source: U.S. Department of Defense, Joint Doctrine Division. ( About )
Military DictionaryInternational Relations & Security Acronyms
Tabun was the first nerve agent to be discovered. Dr Gerhard Schräder came across it in 1937 through his research into pesticides based on organophosphorus bondings. Tabun belongs to the G(erman)-class of nerve agent. The word 'tabun' has no particular meaning and was reportedly made up by Dr Schräder to disguise the discovery. The first time Tabun or any other nerve agent ws ever used in war was by Iraq against Iran in 1984. Subsequently, its use was confirmed repeatedly until the end of the war in 1988.

Nerve agents in general attack the nervous system of the human body. When a nerve receives a stimulus acetylcholine is released in order to carry the impulse to muscles and organs. Once the impulse has passed, the enzyme cholinesterase acts to prevent the accumulation of acetylcholine after its release in the nervous system. Nerve agents inhibit the functioning of cholinesterase, as a consequence of which the acetylcholine continues to act so that nervous impulses continue to be transmitted. The first symptoms a victim will experience following exposure to nerve agents are a runny nose, tightness in the chest and constriction of the pupils (miosis). The victim will then encounter difficulties breathing, drooling from the mouth and nausea. Because of the loss of control over bodily functions, vomiting, defecation and urination occurs. This phase is followed by twitching and jerking. Ultimately the victim will become comatose and will suffocate as a consequence of convulsive spasms.

Tabun is essentially absorbed through the skin, although vapours can also be hazardous. If a person does not receive an immediate lethal dose, death will occur after approximately 20 minutes. People who did not accumulate a lethal dose but did not receive immediate appropriate medical treatment may suffer permanent neurological damage.

More information:
SIPRI Chemical and Biological Warfare Project 

See also: NAA , UBL , UAV , 3-D , R & T

 

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