March 4, 2008 (Lausanne, Switzerland) – World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman said that WADA are validating antibody kits for human growth hormone (HGH) tests in the Beijing Olympics in August.
“It (the kit) has been made by a company under the contract in Germany,” Howman told reporters at a media briefing in Lausanne, “but is still under the process of validation.”
Howman was expecting that the antibody kits would be available for the Beijing laboratory to use in the Olympic Games.
“We are now scientifically validating with kits they’ve shown to us. If they can be validated, we’ll have them manufactured, given to the lab. Then they can do the analysis.
“So it’s just the kits. We hope it’ll be ok. We don’t see any reason not.”
While HGH is believed to be one of the most widely abused performance-enhancing drugs in sports, it has been hard to detect.
The current test was introduced at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 but has been implemented on a limited scale, yielding no positive results so far.
WADA have said that the industrial production of the anti-bodies, currently produced in a research environment, will help the widespread implementation of the HGH test and improve the efficiency.
Howman also said that the test they are going to do with the antibody kits will expand the HGH detection window beyond the original 48 hours after it has been injected.
But he did not give details to avoid cluing in potential cheaters.
Howman added he had talked with doctor Wu Moutian, who is in charge of the Beijing laboratory.
“The lab director must be trained to conduct analysis. I talked with Wu last week. As long as he has the antibody kits, he can do that.”
HGH is a hormone that is synthesized and secreted by cells in the anterior pituitary gland located at the base of the brain. It plays a key role in bone, muscle and organ growth.