17 March Mar 2020 1430 17 March 2020

WADA UPDATE REGARDING ACCREDITED AND APPROVED LABORATORIES IN LIGHT OF COVID-19

Montreal, 16 March 2020

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Dear Colleagues,
[Anti-Doping Organizations and Laboratories]

In connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) wishes to share some important information regarding WADA-accredited laboratories as well as those approved by WADA for blood analysis in connection with the Athlete Biological Passport.

Last week, four accredited laboratories, in Rome (Italy), Montreal (Canada), Madrid and Barcelona (Spain), indicated they were temporarily suspending operations due to the ongoing crisis. WADA anticipates that more laboratories, particularly in Europe, may follow suit.

WADA has been in touch with all four laboratories to ensure that the integrity of the anti-doping samples is maintained during this period of closure. To that end, any laboratory that makes the decision to suspend activities must:

  • Inform its clients immediately of this decision and instruct them not to deliver any more samples for analysis if samples cannot be properly handled and stored.
  • Establish a procedure whereby samples that are already on their way to the laboratory can be securely received and either redirected to another accredited laboratory or safely stored frozen for when the laboratory’s analytical activity resumes.
  • Devise a strategy for safe analysis of the samples once normal activities resume, bearing in mind that some of the thawed samples may contain the virus.

In addition, WADA kindly asks Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) not to send samples to laboratories that have suspended operations until further notice (unless specifically requested to do so by the laboratory itself) and check with other laboratories in advance to make sure they are still accepting samples for analysis.

ADOs should refer to the Accredited Laboratories section of WADA’s website where the Agency will publish similar disruptions as the situation evolves.

WADA will continue to monitor this exceptional situation closely and make the necessary decisions and recommendations that will prioritize the health of all those involved in the protection of clean sport. Laboratories are encouraged to advise WADA of any amendments they are making to their activities so that WADA can coordinate, assist and advise the anti-doping community as necessary.

Thank you for your cooperation and best regards,

World Anti-Doping Agency

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