Introduction of the Athlete Biological Passport
What is an Athlete Biological Passport?
The Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) is an electronic record of an athlete's biological values that is developed over time from multiple collections of blood samples.
ASADA is introducing the ABP into its Australian-based testing program from 1 July 2012.
The ABP differs from traditional detection methods by looking for the effects of blood doping rather than detecting the prohibited substances or methods used. The advantage of this approach is the biological effects of a performance-enhancing agent are commonly present and detectable for a longer period than the agent itself.
ASADA views the ABP as a complementary tool to traditional testing, which will take Australia’s anti-doping efforts to the cutting-edge of the worldwide battle against doping.
Programs incorporating an ABP have been successfully implemented internationally. A number of cases relying on the ABP have successfully been run through the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The ABP will be focused on Australia’s elite athletes; however, all athletes in ASADA’s testing jurisdiction should be aware they can be selected for ABP testing.
The ABP testing will enable the monitoring of athletes over the lifetime of their career. Each test allows an athlete’s biological values to be compared with future or past collections and to be monitored for fluctuations which may indicate the use of a prohibited substance or method. The number of samples required to generate an athlete’s biological passport will vary from athlete to athlete.
The movement against doping relies on several strategies, including the direct testing of athletes as well as evidence gathered in investigations. By combining these strategies, and seeking new ones to address emerging threats, the global elimination of doping will be more effective. ASADA recognises that if urine and blood tests are to be maintained and improved upon they will have to be combined with new tools such as the longitudinal monitoring of blood values through the ABP.
If an athlete is notified of the need to provide a blood sample when there has been more than two hours since training or competition, an ABP sample collection can commence following a ten minute time-out period in which the athlete is seated in a chair.
ASADA will make efforts to test athletes under ABP conditions away from training or competition, however, to ensure the integrity of, and to maximise the unpredictability of our testing program, athletes should be aware this testing can occur at any time.
Testing under ABP conditions ensure a consistent approach to collection, transport and analysis of ABP samples wherever an athlete is across the world.
The basis for the two hours waiting time is to allow an athlete’s heart rate, blood pressure and importantly blood distribution, to reach a consistent and steady baseline level or equilibrium before blood is drawn.
The values recorded from this testing are taken in a consistent manner to ensure appropriate baselines are reached and allow for monitoring of biological values over multiple samples.
The questionnaire will be completed by athletes (or if necessary their representative) and asks questions relating to the nature of the training or competition undertaken by the athlete prior to the test, recent exposure the athlete may have had to altitude or simulated altitude (altitude tent, mask, etc.), and if any blood donation or loss was experienced by the athlete in the weeks prior to the test.
Athletes should complete this questionnaire to the best of their knowledge and be aware that providing false or misleading information can result in an anti-doping rule violation.
An ASADA doping control session in progress.