Thursday, 26 June 2008

WADA and TdF 'epo Test' flushed by Danish study

A must-read from
Bloomberg on announced inconsistencies found in the 'new and improved' EPO test, to be initiated on the guinea-pig riders of next week's Tour de France, and of course in the running of the Beijing Olympics.

Sadly, even more than this article, by co-Authors Carsten Lundby (of the Copenhagen Muscle Research Centre), Niels Jacob Achman-Andersen, Jonas Juhl Thomsen, Anne M Norgaard, and Paul Robach, pointing out the failures of the testing itself, the Free Abstract of this pay-for-access article concisely points to one of the Great Failures of WADA: A serious lack of standardization amongst its vaunted family of 'accredited laboratories'.

Given the access problem to this article at the Journal of Applied Physiology, it is not yet presumed that the EPO test that has now been denounced (Or rendered highly suspect, unreliable and perhaps inutile) was a research product that originated within the French 'département des analyses' (formerly the LNDD).

Readers may recall that previously, Jacques de Ceaurriz of the LNDD had been previously published as a cutting-edge expert on EPO testing (NB: once, a legitimate article published in Nature magazine (2000), and once in a scurrilously illegal incriminatory and defamatory article in the French pseudo-newspaper L'Equipe (2005: publication of this led to the famous Vrijman report denouncing what may have been a WADA-CPLD (French sports medicine Agency) cover-up of highly suspect, if not illegal, publishing of 'research' and naming Lance Armstrong improperly).

Quote du Jour:

To prevent a possible misuse of rHuEpo, this is tested in urine samples collected from athletes by World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratories. Recently the test has met serious critiques, and the aims of the present study were to investigate the detection power of the test as well as the variability in the test power comparing the results of two WADA accredited laboratories. Methods: Eight human subjects were studied for seven weeks and treated with rHuEpo for four weeks with two weeks of "boosting" followed by two weeks of "maintenance" and a post period of three weeks. Urine samples were obtained during all periods.

Results: Laboratory A
determined rHuEpo misuse in all subjects during the "boosting" period, whereas Laboratory B found no misuse, with one sample to be negative, and the remaining seven to be suspicious. The detection rates decreased throughout the maintenance and post period when total hemoglobin mass and exercise performance were elevated. During this period, laboratory A found only two out of 24 samples to be positive, and three to be suspicious, and laboratory B found no positive or suspicious samples. Conclusion: This study demonstrates a poor agreement in test results comparing two WADA accredited laboratories. Moreover, after the initial rHuEpo "boosting" period the power to detect rHuEpo misuse during the maintenance and post periods appears minimal.

Will or how will WADA and the proponents of this test react, with so much on the line, and a clear failure by two of its (presumably) highly competent laboratories to have eventhe semblance of 'standardization and harmonization'?

Lab A found all samples to indicate 'Misuse', while Lab B only found NO samples ("Suspicious" being the newest 'tool' that allows inconsistent lab functionaries to once again screw 'anormal' Athletes that don't fall cleanly into Guilty or Innocent categories... that was all Lab B could discern) to be positive indicators of misuse.

Trying to uncover whether either of the labs in question could have been our 'trusty' French facility, may face
the same obstacles of 'research anonymity' that WADA and the LNDD breached when accusing Lance Armstrong of EPO abuse in 1999 (published in Aug. 2005), and also simultaneously accusing UCI of failing to breach these long-agreed, international regulations that cover human specimins and the anonymity of research on those, in their rabid conjoined quest to 'bust' Lance.

Back to the (blood) drawing board... and only weeks to go...

But will WADA dare convince the world that this test is totally perfect, ready to go? Or will it listen to the evidence offered by this disinterested third-party research facility?


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