WADA studying new method for EPO testing
The World Anti-Doping Agency is studying a new method that would allow wider testing of the banned blood-boosting hormone EPO. Arne Ljungqvist, vice president of WADA, didn't provide details about the new testing process on Sunday, saying its effectiveness still needs to be verified. He said that if the new technique proves successful, it could be used much more widely than the existing system, which is expensive and complicated. "This is a high priority for us, to have this process rapidly validated in order to expand the analysis for EPO," Ljungqvist said at the conclusion of a two-day scientific symposium on blood doping held jointly with the Japan Anti-Doping Agency. A team of researchers presented the new method at the meeting, he said. "The method covers all potential generations of EPO, and will tell us whether a sample is negative or not," he said. The International Olympic Committee is reviewing whether to disqualify five athletes who tested positive CERA, an advanced form of EPO that boosts endurance, at the Beijing Games. The five, including Olympic 1,500-meter champion Rashid Ramzi, had their cases heard by an IOC panel in July. All deny doping. Under new IOC rules, any athlete caught doping and banned for at least six months cannot compete in the next Olympics. The Tokyo anti-doping symposium, which brought together 60 experts, about half from Japan, also discussed substances that could be used to enhance oxygen transport in an athlete's blood, Ljungqvist said.