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Important Changes introduced by WADA

Two positive developments can be highlighted from the recent meetings of the WADA Executive Committee and Foundation Board.


Implementation of Dried Blood Spot Testing

The first guideline for the implementation of Dried Blood Spot (DBS) testing is one of them. The work of the Collaboration Group on DBS testing which included a broad scope of anti-doping organizations built on the positive experience of DBS in the medical field, where DBS samples have shown to be reliable, facilitated logistics and lab workflow and reduced costs in comparison to blood tubes. DBS will also play an important role in Anti-Doping.

If planned thoughtfully around the world, and the adequate level of harmonization is reached, DBS will be a great addition to current testing methods. DBS sampling is already accepted by athletes and tested persons and it demonstrates the will of the anti-doping community to further improve the methods to protect clean athletes. National Anti-Doping Organisations have been piloting the use of DBS in anti-doping for a few years including during last year´s Covid-19 lockdown.


Changes to the criteria for reporting doping cases

Two changes to the analysis of doping samples will allow a more accurate distinction between intentional and non-intentional positive samples. The first change is the inclusion of Minimum Reporting Limits for certain substances under which concentrations need not be reported as a positive sample. The other is the possibility to evaluate if food (mostly meat) contamination is likely the cause for the presence of prohibited substances in an athlete´s sample before a rule violation is attested.

Every year Anti-Doping Organisations sanction athletes for inadvertently taking prohibited substances due to contamination of medications or food and the burden is on the athlete to prove their innocence or no negligence. This is an onerous challenge for athletes. This new flexibility will allow NADOs to concentrate on more offensive cases. We hope that evidence can be collected swiftly on further substances to ensure that the system is protecting clean athletes consistently.