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Study says race affects anti-doping test's accuracy

Category: Drug Screening

Racial differences may cause misleading results in a testosterone test introduced by the World Anti-Doping Agency to screen for steroids, according to a new study.

Tests on urine samples from soccer players of various races in six nations produce results that are "not fit for purpose" of detecting testosterone misuse in athletes, report the authors of a study published in this month's edition of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The study found that people in some racial groups have a variant of the UGT2B17 gene that makes them take longer to excrete testosterone, meaning testosterone levels in their urine stay low even if they have been doping.

"These results demonstrate that a unique and nonspecific threshold to evidence testosterone misuse is not fit for purpose," the study said.

Lead author of the study Christophe Saudan said that an "athlete's passport" would use each athlete's individual metabolic profile as a baseline to determine if variances were caused by doping.

A spokesperson for the anti-doping group said it was aware of the problem with the test.


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