Athletics: Swiss lab to probe blood sample destruction amid doping scandal

12th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

A Swiss laboratory rejected Thursday suggestions it broke rules set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) when it destroyed analysed blood samples, but said it had opened an investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Switzerland's CHUV hospital said in a statement that its anti-doping lab LAD "rejects having destroyed samples from Russia without respecting (WADA) directives."

The hospital said it had opened a probe to "shed light on this event."

The announcement came after WADA this week published a bombshell report alleging systematic doping in Russian athletics enabled by large-scale corruption.

Among the most shocking allegations was that Russia's anti-doping lab in Moscow had destroyed almost 1,500 blood samples in a suspected bid to cover-up positive doping tests. That lab has since been stripped of its WADA accreditation.

The Lausanne lab did not face any such allegations, but the report did suggest it "acted contrary to specific instructions from WADA to retain 67 samples transferred to it from the Moscow laboratory" back in November 2012.

CHUV denied this, explaining that the lab had determined 55 of the samples fulfilled the technical requirements for reliable analysis.

The 55 samples had been analysed by the team at the lab in the idyllic Swiss city of Lausanne, on the shores of Lake Geneva, and at the end of the month the results were passed on to WADA, it said.

Then, in March 2013, "in line with procedures in effect at labs accredited to WADA", the lab informed the world anti-doping agency in writing that it had destroyed the samples.

"With no information to the contrary from WADA, neither in writing or orally, LAD considered that it had fulfilled its mandate and respected procedures," CHUV wrote.

It was only later that the lab was informed by the global agency that it should have provided a documented explanation for the sample destruction.

The hospital said its general management "is committed to getting to the bottom of this event. It immediately ordered an audit to identify the true role and the responsibilities of its lab."


© 2015 AFP

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