IOC commission approves new drug tests

Members of the IOC medical panel at the start of the meeting in Lausanne Keystone

The International Olympic Committee's medical panel has unanimously approved two new tests, aimed at identifying the performance-enhancing drug EPO. The decision, taken in Lausanne, paves the way for the tests to be used at next month's Olympic Game

This content was published on August 1, 2000 - 15:40

For that to happen, however, the tests must first be approved by the IOC's lawyers. A final decision would then be taken at the Committee's executive board meeting at the end of August.

IOC officials said they were keen to see the tests implemented in time for the Games, but stressed that they could not run the risk of a flood of inaccurate results.

The two tests were independently developed by French and Australian scientists. The French claim that their test can differentiate between natural and artificial EPO in urine, while the Australians procedure is supposed to detect changes in the blood caused by the administration of the drug.

Initially developed in the 1980s to treat anaemia in kidney patients, EPO, or erythropoietin, boosts the production of red-blood cells, increasing the rate at which oxygen is absorbed into the blood stream. Experts believe its use can improve sporting performances by up to 15 percent.

EPO came to international prominence in 1998 when vials of the drug were found in an official vehicle of one of the teams competing in cycling's Tour de France.

Earlier this year, the International Cycling Union refused to implement a test for EPO in time for the latest Tour, saying more studies were needed to prove the test's efficiency.

swissinfo with agencies

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