by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
The World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) announced in early August the results of tests which were done at a cutting-edge lab in Cologne, Germany. While the results do not prove that the banned Thymosin Beta-4 (TB4) was given to the Essendon players, the samples were taken from the players between December 2011 and August 2012 and then frozen and stored. Of the 27 samples which were recently tested, two showed high levels of TB4. These two came from players who were on Essendon's list in 2012.
According to WADA's report, the results suggest external administration. However TB4 is a naturally occurring substance and can be found in the thymus gland as well as in red and white blood cells. As such, increased levels can be found in players who are recovering from injury. It is unknown whether or not the two samples came from two players who may have been recently injured at the time of testing. The accuracy of the tests or whether they have been validated is not known.
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) did not have the samples tested for TB4 and could find itself criticized by WADA for "failure to present, or locate, such evidence in the first hearing." It is not known why ASADA did not request testing for TB4. According to journalist Chip Le Grand, part of the reason is that testing at that time for peptides such as TB4 was unreliable. However WADA did proceed to send the samples overseas. Without these results, and without live testimony from key witnesses biochemist Shane Charter and pharmacist Nima Alavi, the case was circumstantial. ASADA was also unwilling to travel to China, where numerous peptides TB4 are sourced. Mr. Charter is known to have brought such products into Australia from China and is believed to have supplied Stephan Dank with certain compounds. Dank, a self described sports scientist, is at the center of the controversy.
Essendon has continually expressed confidence that the players will be cleared in the appeal, with CEO Xavier Campbell saying the WADA submission has not altered his confidence in the players. Campbell is also upset at the news being made public through yet another leak and has asked the AFL to investigate.
Source: theage.com.au, sen.com.au, afl.com.au, AFANA staff research
Article last changed on Thursday, August 13, 2015 - 6:49 AM EDT