The excitement leading up to the FIFA World Cup even got me wearing England white and red today in anticipation of the England vs. Paraguay game. (I currently live in London.) One of the major developments in soccer/football in the run-up to the World Cup included the ratification of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code by the FIFA Congress. Soccer/football was the last of the Olympic sports to agree to anti-doping.
Doping, of course, isn’t going to be limited to steroids and other pharmaceuticals in the future. Gene doping is already on the minds of many including German speedskating coach Thomas Springstein who asked a doctor how he could buy Repoxygen:
Repoxygen™ is designed to be delivered by injection into muscle. Here it produces EPO when the underlying anaemia results in low systemic oxygen concentrations. This will lead to the selective increase in the number of red blood cells, which carry oxygen round the body. As the red blood cell count reaches normal levels and the systemic oxygen concentration reaches normal levels, the EPO gene is switched off.
Originally designed for use in treating anemia, Repoxygen could become one of the ways in which athletes use gene therapy to boost their endurance and stamina. And as my husband can vouch, soccer players definitely need endurance and stamina. Go England!
For more on gene doping in sports, see: