Dried blood spot testing for doping welcomed by athletes
Dried blood spot (DBS) testing method was first applied as a routine method at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games and has received positive feedback, according to athletes attending the second CHINADA International Anti-Doping Symposium on Thursday.
The innovative DBS testing only takes a few drops of blood from the athlete's fingertip to dry on blotting paper, which will allow the scientists to analyze for certain substances.
Taking only a few minutes, the DBS method saves waiting time compared to traditional blood testing procedure, and is comparatively more convenient and less painful. Moreover, the DBS sample requires no refrigeration, which makes storage and transportation easier.
Olympic skateboarding champion Su Yiming confessed that he was a bit nervous when taking his first DBS test in 2021.
"But after the DCO (doping control officer) introduced the sampling process to me, I was free of worries. Unlike the blood test before, I didn't need to stay seated for a long period of time before collecting and the piercing pain was much less than venous blood sampling. The entire process took about only 10 minutes," Su said.
The young prodigy also voiced hope that the DBS testing could enjoy faster development because the new technology has brought convenience for athletes.
Yuhan Tan, member of the Athlete Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency, participated in Beijing 2022 as an independent observer. The badminton player from Belgium tried DBS testing himself. The process lasted for six minutes and 30 seconds.
"I experienced this as a very smooth process. Very clear, very fast, and also very convenient," Tan noted.
Tan said he asked for athletes' feedback and received positive answers from the majority of them.
"What I feel is very important to the athletes is that they want something which is fast. They don't want to spend hours waiting for a doping test," said Tan, who was also keenly aware that DBS testing would not replace urine and blood sampling for now but instead work as a supplement.
Zhang Hong, member of International Olympic Committee, called for an "athlete-centered" approach in developing new anti-doping testing methods.
"It is important to listen to athletes' opinions and suggestions and take their feedback into consideration to help anti-doping organization improve technique methods, standards and procedures," said the member of Athlete Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency.