Hematide: The New, Undetectable EPO?

  • By Mario Fraioli
  • Published Sep. 23, 2010

New drug aimed at helping patients with kidney problems could be the latest performance enhancer in athletics.

Anti-doping authorities are keeping a close eye on a newly developed drug that helps produce more red blood cells but stays in the body longer, meaning its recipients don’t need to undergo as many treatments.

Hematide, which mimics the already-existing drug erythropoietin (EPO), is aimed at helping patients with kidney problems. Authorities fear that the drug, which is currently in its third stage of development, may already be available on the black market and undetectable by current doping tests.

“It speaks to the length people will go to try to cheat,” Larry Bowers, lead scientist at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, told The Associated Press . “You get drugs with perfectly beneficial health purposes and it gets diverted for use by people who shouldn’t be doing it.”

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Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli is a senior editor at Competitor magazine. A cross-country All-American at Stonehill College in 2003, he now coaches the Prado Women's Racing Team in San Diego and was the men's marathon coach for Costa Rica's 2012 Olympic team. His first book, The Official Rock 'n' Roll Guide To Marathon & Half-Marathon Training (VeloPress, 2013) is available in bookstores, running shops and online.

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