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Operation Aderlass uncovers new doping product – names of riders who used it passed to UCI

Austro-German blood doping investigators believe H7379 was used by some pros during 2016 and 2017 seasons

A drug with a similar effect to EPO that is not yet on the market has already been used by professional cyclists, according to police investigating the Operation Aderlass blood doping ring. Investigators are believed to have obtained the names of several riders who used the product and passed them on to the UCI and the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF).

Operation Aderlass first hit the headlines when a number of arrests were made at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Austria in February 2019.

Several cyclists have since been sanctioned as a result of the investigation – the highest profile being Italian Alessandro Petacchi, winner of Milan-San Remo and the points jersey at all three Grand Tours, who received a two-year ban in August last year.

Het Nieuwsblad reports that investigators have now uncovered a previously unknown doping product known as H7379 Haemoglobin Human.

A synthetic form of haemoglobin, the product boosts oxygen transfer around the body. Investigators believe there was microdosing of riders during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

The use of H7379 was picked up following last month’s arrest of a Croatian who is believed to have supplied the drug to Mark Schmidt, the former Gerolsteiner and Milram team doctor at the centre of the investigation.

The supplier also provided the names of several cyclists which have now been passed on to the UCI.

Late last year, the UCI asked the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation to retest samples taken during the 2016 and 2017 seasons following receipt of information and documents from Operation Aderlass.

It is thought that these samples will now be specifically tested for H7379.

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Ben de Wet | 3 years ago
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Not to question the quality of the reporting in Het Nieuwsblad, but I think they got this one slightly wrong.  When you Google H7379, it is indeed not the name of a compound, but the CATALOGUE NUMBER of a product from the research chemical supplier Sigma-Aldrich (now owned by Merck).  The product to which this catalogue number pertains is indeed purified human hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells), but a little further research will inform you that hemoglobin in its free form (ie not inside said red blood cells) has not been successfully used therapeutically yet, though the potential applications are obvious and attractive, and most certainly many academic labs and pharmaceutical companies will have tried.  Hemoglobin in its free form, and chemically unmodified (which this product is), binds to oxygen too thightly and does not release it to the tissue where it is needed and over and above this is toxic to the kidneys.  Not sure if they perhaps got their wires crossed somewhere, but their report seems neither factually correct nor plausible.

EddyBerckx | 3 years ago
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Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago

Will be interesting if this uncovers anyone new.  I would guess not.  Dopers are gonna dope and I doubt they are that choosy over the substance and always ready to try the next new thing.

Rik Mayals unde... replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago

As an aside, I can recommend to anyone to read the Tyler Hamilton book, The Secret Race, which doesn't hold back on the rampant use of EPO & blood transfusions, mainly centred around Armstrongs US Postal team. A great read.

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