The formerly World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited Moscow laboratory that was shut down in 2015 quietly been testing samples since 2016, according to a report from the Associated Press.
The lab handled 1,763 blood samples last year and a total of 3,539 from 2016-2018. The world governing bodies of swimming, track and field and biathlon all told the AP they used the lab.
None of the samples have triggered investigations into tennis players or swimmers, but track’s governing body said that “several” current investigations are reliant upon Moscow-tested samples.
“We have no reason to doubt (the lab results) and have no concerns about the service,” the International Tennis Federation told the AP.
After suspending the lab in 2015, WADA had limited time to decide what to do with its samples, which would degrade quickly. It allowed the lab to do “limited blood testing” in May 2016, a month after it lost its accreditation. By WADA’s standards, however, the lab is still “approved,” and blood test data is hard to fake.
“The blood analysis procedure is conducted with an automated blood analyzer that requires careful calibration protocols and is submitted to external proficiency tests conducted under WADA scrutiny,” WADA said.
In January of this year, WADA obtained stored data from the lab, and announced this week it had more than 2,000 samples in its possession to test, which could potentially reveal more doping by Russian athletes. Once the testing is through, Russia could apply to have the lab fully accredited and test “thousands more” urine samples, according to the AP.