GSK Research Laboratory Ready To Halt Olympic Cheats
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has unveiled the anti-doping research laboratory which will be used to help catch drug cheaters at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The facility, which is based in Harlow, Essex, will have specialists analysing in excess of 6,250 samples, or up to 400 samples per day, which is more than at any other Games. The laboratory, which is as big as seven tennis courts, will be in action 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with over 1,000 Games staff, mostly volunteers, working there this summer.
The team will consist of more than 150 anti-doping scientists, and 12 experienced analysts, and will carry out the testing, which will be led by David Cowan from the Drug Control Centre at King’s College London.
“We have developed, with GSK support, super-fast and super-sensitive technologies to be able to detect use of prohibited substances” commented Cowan. Up to one half of all the athletes will be analysed, including every medallist, and the shortest assessment turnaround time will be 24 hours.
GlaxoSmithKline’s chief executive, Sir Andrew Witty, stated that GSK “is well-placed to help deliver the scale and cutting edge technology required to run an operation like the anti-doping facility for London 2012”. “We have worked with King’s to put systems in place to enable this laboratory to test more samples than any previous Games and at the same time developing a blueprint for doping operations at future Games,” he added.
In July 2011, GlaxoSmithKline signed a partnership with the World Anti-Doping Agency to share data about their drugs in development, specifically identifying medicines with a medium or high potential for exploitation in sport.