Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Now this may be something

It's hard to know what to think of the plasticizer test that the lab in Cologne conducted on Contador's samples because it hasn't been officially validated yet. That's important; when scientists talk about a procedure being validated for a specific use they usually mean that it has been peer reviewed, the finding confirmed and the results published in major journals for further peer review. In the case of doping tests this includes studies on false positives: cases where a procedure may show doping when none occurred. That should include the likelihood that a controlled substance will show up when it isn't there and when a controlled substance will show up due to involuntary exposure, i.e. food contamination.

Reading the latest, it appears that Segura is saying that the procedure has, in fact, been scientifically validated. The missing "validation" that is referred to is administrative in nature, meaning that WADA just hasn't decided whether to use the test yet and what results it considers a positive.

Segura said that although the test for di-phthalate plasticizers has yet to be formally sanctioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the method is valid.

"It's totally good and robust, and it's one of the most important anti-doping advances in recent years because it's the only way of knowing if somebody has undergone an autologous blood transfusion," Segura explained, before outlining how the test works.

"Plastic bags have components that we call plasticizers, which retain the properties of red blood cells during storage. As these residues are also found in common items, the sample must demonstrate a very high level of detection and quantity in order to be considered positive."

Segura admitted that the test may not be legally binding, given that it has yet to be formally validated. "That would be a question for WADA," he said. "In legal terms, you may need more tests to support it, as often happens with such discoveries. But in technical terms, I can say now that it's a categorical method that is perfectly applicable."

1 Comments:

At Wednesday, October 06, 2010 1:14:00 PM, Blogger Martin Criminale said...

Honestly, I'm still reeling from the impact of all this. Not sure why, I guess I still hold out some, naive hope that there will be a champion who won't be so damn two-faced.

But you what is really making me angry these days? If a fraction of the effort pro cycling is making was made to clean up other sports - any other sport - it would help so much.

 

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