Biological passport in the fight against doping

  • Mitja Ferlež
  • Joško Osredkar


Demonstration of substance abuse (drugs) and methods prohibited in top sports, what we call the fight against doping in sports, is based on the detection and characterization of foreign substances in biological samples of athletes (urine, blood, hair). Such an approach is effective, but has many drawbacks. Therefore, we are looking for new ways of proving abuse of prohibited substances and methods. One of these is the strategy of long-term monitoring of biomarkers for identifying and sanctioning blood doping in athletes. This strategy is based on the assumption that doping will change values of biomarkers of the athlete that are otherwise kept in homeostasis. If we use a validated mathematical model, it is possible to determine whether the change in the values of biomarkers is due to doping or due to natural variations. Such a model is a biological passport, which enables the identification of the abnormal blood changes in biological indicators of the athlete. Since 2010 it has been possible to introduce sanctions against the athlete for breach of anti-doping rules based solely on an abnormal change of biomarkers. The introduction of the biological passport is a milestone in demonstrating drug abuse in sports, because it substantiates the abnormal deviations of biomarkers from the expected, although the cause of it remains unknown.


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How to Cite
Ferlež M, Osredkar J. Biological passport in the fight against doping. ZdravVestn [Internet]. 1Oct.2012 [cited 17Sep.2019];81(10). Available from: