Detecting EPO in Beijing: a high-precision "dream team"

(dpa) - The system to detect erythropoietin (EPO) is probably one of the most sophisticated and delicate operations at the Beijing Olympics, a major challenge in the hands of a "dream team" of scientists.

Precision is crucial, because athletes' honour is at stake, and this leads the scientists involved to take their time. It can even lead the samples to be sent on to Paris, as was the case with Spanish cyclist Maribel Moreno, singled out Monday as the first positive doping test at the Games.

"The testing process for EPO takes a while, it is not immediate," an international expert working at the heart of testing for doping doping in Beijing told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The laboratory, flagship of China's new anti-doping agency Chinada, is a multinational effort, where experts like the Canadian Christiane Ayotte - director of the prestigious Montreal laboratory - or Don Catlin of the US - responsible for the facility in Los Angeles and the man who discovered the method to detect the designer drug THG used by Marion Jones - run into each other every day.

Anti-doping laboratories are a legacy that the Olympic Games leave for host countries. Thanks to Montreal 1976 and Los Angeles 1984, those two cities are world references in testing, and so is the Barcelona lab under Jordi Segura, a Spaniard who is also part of the Beijing "dream team."

Moreno underwent a urine test on July 31, shortly after she arrived in Beijing. The first analysis of the sample was positive, enough to allow the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to prevent her from competing.

However, in order to get the result of the test that arrived late Sunday from the Chatenay-Malabry laboratory in Paris, "up to 72 hours" may be required.

"The sample, in this case, was very diluted. We had to be particularly careful," the source told dpa.

Unlike anabolic steroids and stimulants, on which doping tests draw clear conclusions in the shape of concrete figures, EPO is a foggy area: graphic results are subject to interpretation, they are not objective. This means that, before there is a positive result, at least three laboratory heads have to be involved and deliver their expert knowledge on the matter.

The Brazilian Eduardo De Rose, president of the medical commission at the Pan-American Sports Organization (PASO) and an expert on EPO, told dpa that "it is not true that the second or third generations of the substance" are harder to detect.

"What the different generations of EPO allow is a greater ease for kidney patients," De Rose explained. "The oldest (form of EPO) required daily applications, for NESP (Novel Erythropoiesis Stimulating Protein) they are weekly, and for the new one they are practically monthly."

This improves life for kidney sufferers, but it also facilitates consumption on the part of sportsmen seeking to improve their performance.

The traditional "recombinant EPO" which became known around the world in the late 1990s jumped to NESP or darbepoetin, which German- born Spanish skier Johann Muehlegg made known when he tested positive in Salt Lake City 2002.

And now there is the Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator (CERA), the third generation, which had its world premiere last month at the Tour de France, with the case involving Italian Riccardo Ricco.

De Rose leads a group of 15 experts that visit the different sites of competition at the Beijing Olympics everyday. From a hotel in central Beijing, the Brazilian coordinates things for tests to be done in a timely fashion, for nothing to go wrong and for the 4,500 tests expected to be done at the 2008 Olympics to be carried out with ease.

In the meantime, the anti-doping lab in Beijing receives all the samples, which can be tested at any time since there are three shifts covering 24 hours a day.

And there will be a lot of work, because IOC president Jacques Rogge has already anticipated that he expects "between 30 and 40" positive tests in the Games.

This means that Moreno's is just the beginning. The game of doping is only getting started.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
SOCAR Turkey eyes capacity expansion for STAR Refinery
SOCAR Turkey eyes capacity expansion for STAR Refinery
SOCAR’s STAR Refinery expands its list of oil grades
SOCAR’s STAR Refinery expands its list of oil grades
Turkmenistan-Turkey trade volume increased in 11M2021
Turkmenistan-Turkey trade volume increased in 11M2021
Loading Bars
Latest
Georgia’s main oil exporters disclosed
Uzbekistan discloses level of assimilation of investment in fixed capital
Kazakhstan’s banking sector sees increase in total assets
Uzbekistan sees increase in volume of foreign trade turnover for 2021
Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan trade turnover increased in 2021
Iran eyes establishment of joint bank with China
Azerbaijan continues searching for servicemen gone missing during Karabakh war
UAE bourses end higher on financial, telecom boost
Kazakhstan's president orders to audit all local deposits
Turkmenhimiya opens tender to purchase chemical products
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 1,068 more COVID-19 cases, 551 recoveries
German health min sees possible tripling of COVID infections by mid-Feb
Kazakh government must develop new modern approaches to public-private partnership - president
Kazakhstan unveils its TOP-3 trade partners for 11M2021
Azerbaijan launches working group to prepare measures to combat inflation
Israel's defence chief isolates at home after positive COVID test
Former ambassador sentenced to 10 years in prison in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani holding training session for reservists (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Rising influence of limited elite groups in Kazakhstan becomes serious security threat - Tokayev
Turkmen factory discloses construction materials production data
Azerbaijan enters new stage of strategic development - official
Georgia’s fuel prices remain relatively low
Kazakhstan to create secondary market for distressed asset purchase and sale
SOCAR Turkey eyes capacity expansion for STAR Refinery
Russia reports 49,513 daily COVID-19 cases, a new high since start of pandemic
SOCAR’s STAR Refinery expands its list of oil grades
Kazakhstan needs tough policy to demonopolize economy - president
Iran reduces electricity subsides for high consuming users
Azerbaijan unveils value added growth in non-oil industry in 2021
Georgia names main trading partners by export destinations in 2021
Azerbaijan discloses state budget expenditure growth in 2021
Turkmenistan-Turkey trade volume increased in 11M2021
Goals of Advisor to French President's Cabinet, EU Special Representative for S.Caucasus's visit to Azerbaijan named (Exclusive)
Azerbaijan-Armenia border demarcation is priority - Russian MFA
Greenhouse sector in Georgia may soon get needed backup from USAID, UNDP, ADB
Russia is consistently making efforts to resolve situation on Azerbaijan-Armenia border - MFA
Nar supports the biggest platform of Azerbaijani audiobook library
Kazakh National Bank to ensure balance of foreign exchange market until full restoration of confidence in tenge
SOCAR Turkey updates on Merkury project
Turkish officials visit Azerbaijan’s pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 (PHOTO)
Intel plans $20 bln chip manufacturing site in Ohio - sources
Uzbek Central Bank shares data on volume of cash in circulation
Turkmen Health Ministry opens tender to purchase medical oxygen cylinders
Ukraine discloses volume of Azerbaijani investments in economy
Number of employment contracts increases in Azerbaijan - minister
Georgia sees increase in producer price index
India to help Sri Lanka with USD 2.4 billion to overcome financial crisis: Report
‘Mauritius prime example of India’s approach to development partnership’, says PM Modi
World Bank to launch co-op program with Uzbekistan for 2022-2026
Azerbaijan considers extending term of suspension of inspections in field of business
Turkmenistan is primary supplier of jet fuel to Georgia - Union of Oil Product Importers
Turkmenistan intends to supply electricity to third countries via Uzbekistan and Iran
SOCAR reveals volume of gas exports to Europe
Azerbaijan commissions new military facilities in liberated Kalbajar district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Oil production up at Azerbaijan’s Bahar-Gum Deniz
Kazakhstan failed to create diversified economy – President Tokayev
Uzbekistan eyes implementing projects with Japan in leather and footwear industry
Bahar Energy shares data on well fund in Azerbaijan
Kazakh president calls on local business circles to jointly build new economic policy
Number of active oil wells in Azerbaijan’s Bahar-Gum Deniz block down
Georgia publishes COVID-19 data for January 21
Central Bank of Azerbaijan acts prudently to curb inflation - Gazprombank
Azerbaijani oil prices increase
Bahar Energy reveals figures for natural gas wells
Uzbekneftegaz JSC reveals volume of production planned for 2022
Kazakhstan reduces production of diesel fuel
Turkmenistan has great potential for green energy initiatives – USAID
Georgia, Azerbaijan discuss customs cooperation
USAID eager to partner with Turkmenistan on low carbon development
Only Azerbaijani citizens older 18 allowed to visit liberated lands - adviser to minister
Azerbaijani currency rates for January 21
Uzbekistan shares domestic COVID-19 data for January 20
Oil falls as U.S. inventory build prompts profit-taking
MFA of Kazakhstan issues statement on European Parliament resolution on situation in country
Japan approves Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11
2022 can be called the year of investments in Karabakh - Country Managing Partner of PwC (Interview) (PHOTO/VIDEO)
16,284 more COVID-19 cases reported in Kazakhstan
China, Russia delay U.S. bid to sanction North Koreans at U.N.
Turkey confirms 71,843 daily COVID-19 cases
New vaccine passport rules in France to come into power from next week
U.S. FAA approves 78% of planes for low-visibility landings near 5G airports
Gloomy Netflix forecast erases much of stock's pandemic gains
Turkey, El Salvador sign 6 agreements during Bukele visit
Austria becomes first country in Europe to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for all adults
Google launches fresh appeal to overturn $2.8 bln fine at top EU court
Russian, Iranian top diplomats confirm commitment to Vienna talks to restore JCPOA - MFA
Gas prices in Europe above $900 per 1,000 cubic meters
Tehran offers swap of Russian gas from Azerbaijan to southern Iran
Czech Development Agency eyes launching new projects in Georgia in 2022
Sudan military chief Burhan announces ministerial appointments: Sovereign council
Azerbaijani FM discusses issues of bilateral co-op with Austrian minister
Azerbaijani FM meets with OPEC Sec-Gen (PHOTO)
UN General Assembly adopts resolution condemning Holocaust denial
Cavushoglu and Israel's Lapid hold phone call
Iran, Russia reach agreements in oil and gas sector, says minister
Children over 5 years old allowed to be vaccinated against coronavirus in Uzbekistan
Ankara expects to host Putin-Zelensky meeting - Erdogan
Turkey, Qatar agree on ensuring security at Kabul airport
Turkish Parliament speaker pays tribute to memory of martyrs of Azerbaijan's January 20 tragedy
All news