Three Weeks Before the Olympics Begin, New Questions About Doping

By Eliza Strickland | July 21, 2008 12:29 pm

Olympic stadium BeijingDespite the International Olympic Committee’s vow to vigilantly test for performance enhancing drugs at the Summer Olympics in Beijing, some scientists and sports doctors say that athletes are likely to cheat at the games, and get away with it.

The focus is on erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone naturally produced by the kidneys which regulates red blood cell production. When extra EPO is injected before a competition, it boosts performance by increasing the amount of red blood cells in an athlete’s body; those blood cells then carry more oxygen to the hard-working muscles.

Anti-doping agencies regularly test athletes for EPO, but some researchers say the agencies can’t develop tests fast enough to keep up with new “copycat” versions of EPO, often produced by pharmaceutical companies in India, Cuba, and China. These cheap versions of EPO, often called biosimilars, can be easily bought over the internet…. Some scientists who track and monitor the development of copycat EPO drugs say there could be up to 80 different versions now being manufactured in different parts of the world [BBC News].

Danish researchers also recently found that the labs accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency to test athletes’ urine samples are inconsistent at picking up evidence of EPO use…. “It’s very sad,” said Dr. Carsten Lundby, one of the researchers. “We didn’t know whether to publish this study or not, to be honest, because this is also a recipe for athletes who want to cheat” [Chicago Tribune].

The International Olympic Committee has taken umbrage at these publicly voiced doubts, and says that the testing regimen at this year’s game will be stricter than ever before. Samples will be taken by armed guard from 41 collection stations to a new doping lab near the main Olympic stadium, where 180 scientists and staff will be on 24-hour duty to analyze the specimens…. Under a newly adopted IOC rule meant to signal a powerful deterrent, any athlete caught doping in Beijing and subsequently suspended for at least six months will be barred from the next Summer Olympics in London in 2012 [AP].

Image: flickr/galaygobi

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine
  • Pingback: bioethics.com » Blog Archive » Three Weeks Before the Olympics Begin, New Questions About Doping()

  • http://www.willjordan.tk Buck

    DONT USE BANNED DRUGS!

    Will Jordan
    Reading rowing team will have no choice other than to pull out of future events – was Will Jordan the only one at the Reading Club to be selling illegal performance enhancing drugs?
    It’s the sad old story – the so called athlete who just cannot make it through hard training decides to take the easy option! Will Jordan was arrested for being in possession of performance enhancing drugs – if that is not bad enough he was arrested for selling the same drugs to children.

    Will Jordan a self proclaimed international supremo journalist has tried to gain recognition as an investigative journalist- this failed as he was later proven by his own colleagues to have lied, created misleading stories and most recent and bizarre caught hacking into the Maldives Election website and planted Devil Horns onto the New President Anny – Jordan has always promoted close ties to the ex- President Gayoom.

    We went to Will Jordan’s home a young boy answered the door stating that Will would not provide an interview the young boy did state that Will Jordan denied majority of the allegations being made and will be able to provide proof that the drugs were not illegal.
    We should not lose site that this is not the first time Will Jordan has been in the hall of public fame – during 2005 he was arrested and cautioned for possession of illegal substances apparently brought back from a recent trip to Venezuela.
    Will Jordan has worked with BBC local radio and several local newspapers – let’s hope this is the last we see of this man – betraying fellow journalists can be accepted by some, betraying all those children cannot!
    Buck

  • Pingback: Can “Biological Passports” Save Sports From Doping? | 80beats | U Reader | Your daily news stop station ...()

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