In the ongoing battle against the illegal use of substances to boost athletic performance, the anti-doping organizations are continually looking for ways to extend the time window in which the testing will produce a positive result.
As you can see by the excerpt of the AP report below, this new test extends that window to 21 days from the current 72 hour testing currently in existence.
A new test that can detect the use of human growth hormone for up to 21 days has been endorsed by international anti-doping officials, moving a step closer to a potential breakthrough against doping at next year’s London Olympics.
U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart told The Associated Press on Monday the “biomarker” test for HGH won strong consensus among doping scientists and experts from around the world who attended a London symposium on detecting growth factors.
The test, which still needs final validation by the World Anti-Doping Agency, widely extends the detection window from the current “isoform” test, which can only identify HGH use going back 12 to 72 hours.
The new test, which also uses blood samples, can go back “anywhere from 10 days to 21 days” and could be a significant deterrent against one of the most potent performance-enhancers in sports, Tygart said.
“This is an important step,” he said. “We’re hopeful it’s going to be approved by WADA soon.”
In addition to its possible use at the Olympics or in international sports, the test would also be valid for the NFL, whose players’ union has yet to agree to introduction of any HGH testing.
The biomarker test was the main focus of a closed-door conference over the weekend that was jointly organized by USADA and UK Anti-Doping.
“The consensus … is that this test is a well-validated, scientifically reliable test which extends the window of detection and would also be important to implement,” Tygart told the AP following a separate anti-doping and ethics symposium Monday in London.
He said the biomarker test had been supported by more than 30 peer-reviewed scientific articles.
The isoform test, first used in 2004, is designed to detect the presence of synthetic HGH in the body. By contrast, the biomarker test scans for chemicals produced by the body after HGH use, detecting “the effects of using human growth hormone,” Tygart said.
The biomarker test could be used alone or together with the isoform test.
“The two tests are complementary,” Tygart said.