February 26, 2006

Test For EPO is Bad Science

You may have missed this during the excitement of the Olympics, but last week an interesting scientific study was released in the journal Blood. Blood is the Journal of the American Society of Hematology.

The article (abstract here), as cited in Medical News Today, makes a number of very strong statements about the urinary EPO test currently being used by WADA:

  • Straightforward experimental protocol of the reported study leaves little doubt that the major urinary protein that WADA test visualizes with the anti-EPO antibodies is not EPO.
  • … IOC/WADA method for EPO testing is not scientifically popular or well-established. An in depth analysis of the articles behind the IOC's urine test for EPO shows these earlier publications missed critical control experiments and were not designed to exclude non-specific false-positive misidentification of other non-EPO urine components.
  • … provides the grounds for blood doping corruption by IOC and WADA, abuses athletes, and obstructs Olympic "play true" principal.
  • … WADA data on blood doping are invalid, and that innocent athletes could lost [sic] their Olympic medals because of IOC and WADA misconduct … Olympic champions could wrongly suffer IOC sanctions.

Of course, we've known this for a while, haven't we?

How long will WADA go on insisting that there is nothing wrong with the EPO test? How many innocent athletes are they willing to sacrifice in the fight against doping? How many have been sacrificed already?

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