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In search of Meldonium

13 Aug 2018

In Siberia, create a device for doping control

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While in the sports world are continuing of meldonium scandals, Tomsk scientists bring to the market a new device for determining the express method of substance content in the body of athletes and in the dietary supplements. It is expected that the portable electrochemical analyzer will appear in free sale in the winter of this year and its application can become a legal method for research and doping control.

Standard electrodes
At the beginning of the year, researchers from the Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) micro-admixture laboratory became interested in doping scandals, which threatened the career of Maria Sharapova and other athletes. After discussing the problem with sports medicine experts, scientists decided to create a new method for determining Mildronate in the blood - convenient and inexpensive. By this time the laboratory already had experience in developing methods for determining a wide range of substances - cardioprotectors, vitamins, antibiotics, developed a method for express control of uric acid in the blood, and prepared several models of devices for their determination.

The most popular way to determine the meldonium in the athlete's blood is liquid chromatography - tandem mass spectrometry. According to the head of the laboratory Galina Slepchenko, this is a stationary method, which is used in large laboratories with the use of expensive imported equipment and consumables. "We proposed an alternative for more mass application. Our reagents are available, and therefore inexpensive: the electrodes that we use in the apparatus are standard and are suitable for most voltammetric devices, "says Olga Mezentseva, one of the method developers.

Now the technique passes a metrological appraisal, so that it can be entered in the register of measurement techniques. While it is not clear whether it will be an arbitration method or an additional one, however, Tomsk citizens do not doubt in the use of development. "The changes that we fix with the instrument depend on the concentration of Meldonium in the blood of a person. The signal is recorded with a high enough accuracy, the error is 5-10%. With metrological certification, this figure may increase to 20%, - says Galina Slepchenko. "Even if this happens, our reliable and fast method is useful for confirming the result."

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The device is planned to be placed on the basis of the partner of the laboratory - a small innovative enterprise Tomanalit, which has already produced more than a thousand devices for the determination of other substances. Scientists suggest that in the winter the analyzer will enter the market, and its price will be about 200 thousand rubles.

Member of the Commission of the Russian Paralympic Committee on Medicine and Anti-Doping, ex-head physician of the Continental Hockey League Boris Tarasov does not yet see the point of the emergence of an express method for determining the content of meldonia in the blood of athletes: "First, we must wait for official data on the rate of removal of Meldonium from the body professional athlete. Such studies are now conducted by WADA and FMBA. Secondly, meldonium at the moment simply can not be accepted, since it is included in the prohibited list of WADA. If it becomes clear in the fall that some athlete, after a monstrous scandal, takes meldonium, this, at least, means his full profavility, as well as the incompetence of the sports doctor who watches him. " If for Mildronate WADA and FMBA establish usual, as for most other drugs, the timing of excretion, there is no point in determining in the body the presence of only Meldonium, since the doping of WADA is the overwhelming majority of drugs, the expert believes.

In the opinion of Boris Tarasov, for a real counter to the spread in the sport of doping, absolutely different methods and approaches are needed, both from WADA and from the IOC. "It is necessary to completely change the WADA Code and the criteria for including medicines and methods in the banned list, which professionals in sports medicine have been talking about for many years. This is the only way to protect Russia and other countries from similar doping scandals. Otherwise, not Meldonium, so something else will come up, because the pharmacological guide is very large, "- sums up the expert.

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