Montreal - The World
Anti-Doping Agency said Sunday it had launched an investigation into a possible
glitch in drug-testing kits which could allow sample bottles to be opened
WADA said in a statement it had been alerted by an
accredited laboratory in Cologne that bottles manufactured by Swiss
manufacturer Berlinger could be opened after being frozen.
The glass containers, known as the BEREG-KIT Geneva, were
touted as the next generation of sample bottles after being released last year
in the wake of the Russian doping scandal that dogged the 2014 Winter Olympics.
It was not clear if the new Berlinger bottles were due to be
used at next month's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
WADA did not immediately respond to a request for
In its statement, WADA said it had "initiated an
investigation into a potential integrity issue with the new generation
BEREG-KIT Geneva security bottles and will recommend appropriate measures, if
needed, in order to maintain the integrity of the doping control process."
The agency said it was alerted to the possible flaw by the
Cologne laboratory on January 19.
The lab had found that the bottle "may potentially be
susceptible to manual opening 'upon freezing' of a sample."
WADA said it had contacted Berlinger over the issue, and the
Swiss company later responded that it had been unable to replicate the flaw
found by the German laboratory.
"WADA is following up with the Cologne Laboratory and
Berlinger to further clarify the testing protocols that have been undertaken to
date," WADA said in a statement.
"WADA acknowledges that this situation, if confirmed,
will raise concerns and questions. We wish to reassure athletes and other
stakeholders that WADA is resolutely committed to following up with Berlinger
until the matter is resolved; and that, we will keep stakeholders apprised as
the situation evolves," WADA added.
In the 2014 Sochi Olympics doping scandal detailed in a
report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, investigators discovered that
Russian staff involved had developed a method being able to open
"tamper-proof" sample bottles undetected.