Race against time for Olympic EPO tests

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The Independent Online

After years of delays, false hopes and inconclusive research, the race to find a valid test for one of sport's most abused performance-enhancing drugs is reaching a climax.

After years of delays, false hopes and inconclusive research, the race to find a valid test for one of sport's most abused performance-enhancing drugs is reaching a climax.

With less than 50 days until the opening of the Sydney Games, Olympic medical and legal experts meet next week to decide whether to introduce a test for the banned endurance-boosting hormone erythropoietin, or EPO. Two tests, a urine-based control developed in France and an Australian blood-sampling method, will be reviewed by an International Olympic Committee panel on Monday and Tuesday.

The researchers will present the tests to a panel of medical officials and outside experts. Both tests have been published in scientific journals, the first step in the validation process. But whether the results have been corroborated by further testing and can withstand legal challenges remains uncertain.

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