The World Anti-Doping Agency has fully reinstated the anti-doping laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah, almost 9 months after it was partially, and secretly, suspended.
The lab, which is called the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL), is one of two WADA-accredited laboratories in the United States, along with one in Los Angeles, and is the only one approved to analyze blood samples.
Specifically, the laboratory’s isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) analytics method was found to be non-conforming with WADA’s technical documentation. The WADA Executive Committee lifted the partial suspension on October 7, 2019, subject to meeting certain conditions, including a laboratory on-site assessment.
The IRMS method is used to detect anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) in urine samples in the anti-doping process, and is specifically useful in differentiating between endogenous steroids (which are naturally created in the body) from their synthetic, and banned, counterparts.
SMRTL challenged the partial suspension in front of the international Court of Arbitration for Sport and requested an order that kept the suspension confidential.
WADA says that SMRTL ‘cooperated fully’ in making corrective actions recommended by WADA, and the two sides mutually agreed to not pursue the CAS action. This allowed WADA to announce the suspension, as the CAS gag order is no longer in effect.
Currently, WADA-accredited laboratories in Bangkok (as of November 18, 2019), New Delhi (as of August 20, 2019), Athens (as of October 1, 2019), and Helsinki (self-imposed, as of February 15, 2019) are suspended. That leaves 26 accredited WADA laboratories in the world, disregarding any labs where operations might be interrupted because of the global coronavirus pandemic.