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Russian deputy premier adopts dog that took part in liquid breathing experiment

December 22, 2017, 7:29 UTC+3 MOSCOW

During the experiment, attended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, the dog was put headfirst into a tank with oxygen-rich liquid

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Nikolas, a dachshund who took part in a liquid breathing experiment

Nikolas, a dachshund who took part in a liquid breathing experiment

© Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS

MOSCOW, December 22. /TASS/. The Russian deputy prime minister in charge of space and defense industry, Dmitry Rogozin, has decided to adopt a dog, who took part in a recent scientific experiment to demonstrate Russia’s new liquid breathing technology.

A dachshund named Nikolas was used in a recent demonstration of the liquid breathing technology, developed by Russian scientists. During the experiment, attended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, the dog was put headfirst into a tank with oxygen-rich liquid. The video of the experiment shows that Nikolas was panicking and struggling to get out, before his lungs were filled with the liquid and he started breathing normally again.

"Yes, indeed, Dmitry Olegovich [Rogozin] asked to give this dog to him. He wants to take him home," a source at the deputy premier’s office told TASS. Rogozin already has a pet dog - a German Shepherd named Ponchik.

Many animal rights activists criticized the experiment as bordering on animal cruelty. Commenting on the accusations, Rogozin wrote in his Twitter that "our brave [animal] friends save human lives, that’s why such research should be treated with understanding and support for scientists, who have finally been able to solve the task inherited from the Soviet Union."

Serbian President Vucic, who examined the dog after the experiment, said the animal "not only survived, but also was in a good mood."

"There is no reason for people to get worry, this wonderful dog was in perfect condition, and quite lively. The scientists demonstrated that an animal can breathe some kind of liquid instead of air. After several moments of panic, the dog got used to this condition without any problems," the Politika newspaper quoted Vucic as saying.

The liquid breathing technology, developed by Russian scientists, enables a normally air-breathing organism to breathe an oxygen-rich liquid instead. The technology can be used in various spheres, including deepwater diving and rescue of submarine crews, as well as for the treatment of pre-term neonates and people with various types of breathing problems.

"There are liquids that can be enriched with oxygen to the point when they can meet a living body’s oxygen demand by circulating in lungs instead of air. If a person breathes such liquid, he will not suffer from the decompression sickness," said Anton Tonshin, a scientist who heads the liquid breathing lab at Russia’s Izmerov Research Institute of Occupational Health.

So far, the technology was tested on dogs and small mammals, such as hamsters. However, scientists do not rule out that it may be tested on apes and, subsequently, on humans.

"I wish we could [test this technology on humans] as soon as possible, because this is a serious technology that can save human lives. But no timeframe has been set yet. I think that human testing is unlikely to take place in 2019," Tonshin said, adding that it was possible that the technology will be tested on humans in 2020.

"At the moment, we found no harm for health. This technology has all chances to eventually be applied to humans," the scientist added.

Tonshin said that although the scientific team was absolutely sure that the experiment was safe, a group of vets was present during the test to provide any aid if necessary.

He added that all lab dogs who took part in similar experiments were alive and well.

"We monitored their condition for a while to make sure their health is out of danger. After that, the dogs are given up for adoption," the researcher said.

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