Drug testing and the Olympics

Olympic Drug Screening The process We have been told that 150 scientists will be working around the clock to test up to 400 blood and urine samples per day. About half of the athletes competing this year will be requested – without notice – to provide samples for testing, including all medallists. Most samples taken will be urine, but 1000 or more will be blood, according to David Cowan who heads the Olympic testing team. Avoiding mistakes To avoid any mistakes all samples will be barcoded, so that the testing centre knows where any sample is at any time and who is handling it. Each sample will be divided at the point of collection between two tamper-proof bottles labelled A and B. If the testing team gets a positive result from repeated tests on an A sample, the B bottle will be opened and analysed. Challenges Over the course of the games, the scientists will be tasked with analysing more than 6200 samples for as many as 400 banned substances across a range of pharmacological categories. Perhaps the toughest challenge is the rapid turnaround time required, with the majority of negative results set to take less than 24 hours to be announced. All in all, it’s quite the process! With more than 6000 drug screens being performed over the 18 day period, we applaud those who are responsible for implementing these tests. Fingers crossed most samples are clean and we get to witness an exciting and enjoyable Olympics 2012.]]>

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