The Partnership for Clean Competition announced its first Award for Published Advances in Anti-Doping. The award goes to the WADA-accredited anti-doping lab in China for their leadership on the paper Discovery of c.577del in EPO: Investigations into endogenous EPO double-band detected in blood with SAR-PAGE.

The PCC partnered with the Manfred Donike Workshop to announce the award at the conclusion of the workshop’s online platform. The prize will go to Dr. Zhou Xinmiao and Prof. Zhang Lisi for their leadership on the awarded paper. The recognition comes with a €1,000 reward.

The study, published in Drug Testing and Analysis in November 2021, highlights the presence of a genetic variant of endogenous erythropoietin (EPO) called c.577del. The variant can cause anti-doping tests to return an adverse analytical finding against an athlete showing they have used recombinant EPO, when in fact, they have not. The researchers identified the variant, which can be found in Chinese athletes specifically, and developed new technical guidance that protects people who have the rare variant.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has adjusted its Technical Document on EPO to reflect the results of the research.

The PCC used a jury of experts in anti-doping science to identify the paper as having a direct impact on clean sport practices.

Our jury kept three specific criteria in mind:

  • The study presents a method or approach for detecting substances of high importance that have been difficult-to-impossible to pinpoint. The research improves the efficiency of testing and the deterrent impact of those tests.
  • The study illustrates specificity improvements that reduce the risk of misinterpretation or inadequate management of results, increasing the reliability and credibility of the global testing system.
  • The study’s outcome leads to changes in prevailing rules or guidance for result interpretation or a harmonization of procedures throughout the field.

The PCC would like to thank the entire clean sport community for another excellent year of research. We look forward to seeing all of the breakthroughs this year that we will consider for the Award for Published Advances in Anti-Doping next year.

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