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Peptides imports in rapid rise

By AAP .
8 February 2013 10:55AM EST

IMPORTATION of peptides has exploded with seizures up 255 per cent over the past year, according to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.

ASADA chief Aurora Andruska says her organisation had been warning sporting bodies and codes that peptides were the "new generation" of performance-enhancing substance.

But even armed with intelligence on suspected users of peptides, Andruska conceded on Friday that target testing was unlikely to uncover users as only two laboratories worldwide can test for peptides.

"We've been looking at the issue of peptides for some time," Andruska told the ABC of one of key banned substances outlined in Thursday's ground-breaking Australian Crime Commission report which outlined widespread doping in Australian professional sport and links top organised crime.

"We've been aware of the increase in the importation of peptides into Australia, the seizures that customs and border protection have made.

"They've increased by 255 per cent over the last 12 months.

"We've been aware of that and we've had a warning up on our website about the use of peptides - that they are prohibited in terms of the WADA list.

"We've been talking to sports about peptides, so we're very conscious about that being a new generation of drug that people are looking to use to improve their performance."

Andruska said peptides, which increase levels of human growth hormone, are extremely hard to test for and that ASADA must rely more on intelligence gathering and investigations.

"There are two laboratories around the world that can test for peptides, one in Cologne, the other one in Montreal," she said.

"Of course it depends upon the dose that's taken but the life inside the body of the peptide is very short, it can be just a couple of hours.

"What we do is use the intelligence we get to do target testing, so that all our testing has actually got some purpose behind the test."

The World Anti-Doping Agency hosted a symposium on the Developments and Challenges in the Detection of Doping with Peptide Hormones in 2011 at Rome.

Andruska noted many nation's anti-drug agencies engage in only testing, whereas Australia is "leading with the work we do in terms of our intelligence gathering and investigations".

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