The World Anti-Doping Agency says a gene doping test will be used “shortly” by accredited laboratories.
A test has been developed in Australia to detect if cheats are injecting synthetic genes which cause the body to produce more of the naturally-occurring hormone EPO, which in turn boosts the body’s ability to carry more oxygen in its blood.
WADA President Craig Reedie says “we invest lots of money in scientific research and it appears to be working.”
There’s already a test to detect if athletes are directly injecting EPO. This test should pick up if subtle changes have been made to DNA to make the body produce the extra EPO.
Valerie Fourneyron, of WADA’s research committee, says “we’re still playing catch-up with the cheaters but we’re closing the gap quite fast.”