Policies introduced by the Russian Government last year to restrict what it called “gay propaganda” mean that, for once, drug doping may be one of the less controversial topics discussed after the Winter Olympics opens in Sochi later today.
But while efforts to catch drug cheats may lose out in the news headlines, athletes thinking of using drugs to gain an edge over their rivals are no less likely to get caught according to the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA), particularly those using HGH.
Human growth hormone
HGH has been used by sports cheats to try and improve athletic performance and, until last year, was one of the agents tested for routinely.
In March 2013, however, a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) cast doubt on the testing methods used to detect the biopharmaceutical and prompted a revaluation of the supporting data.
Former Olympic cross-country skiing champion Andrus Veerpalu got a three-year doping ban overturned on a statistical technicality by arguing that the parameters for the HGH test could produce false positives.
A CAS panel asked for proof of accurate HGH analysis. This process is now nearing an end according to WADA spokesman Ben Nichols, who said that the HGH testing will be carried out on samples taken at the Sochi games.
He told BioPharma-Reporter.com the organisation “is currently awaiting peer review publication following the two biostaticians' reports. Once peer reviewed, we expect the revised Human Growth Hormone test to be in place so that samples can be analyzed.”