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U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)

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USADA Implementing New Sample Collection Equipment

As part of its continued commitment to innovation and providing athletes with the best possible anti-doping solutions, USADA will be introducing new sample collection equipment in 2020. The new SAFESystem™ by InnoVero was designed in collaboration with athletes, laboratories, Doping Control Officers (DCOs), and anti-doping organizations worldwide to ensure that they meet the needs of every user throughout the sample collection and analysis process.

Find more information on the kits and implementation process below.

1. Why is USADA transitioning to different sample collection equipment?

In all aspects of the anti-doping process, USADA is committed to identifying and implementing the most effective and athlete-friendly solutions, methods, and technologies. The SAFESystem offers innovative and unmatched features that will improve the testing experience for athletes and enhance sample security.

2. How are the new kits different from other equipment?

The SAFESystem incorporates features designed to improve the overall user experience and provide unprecedented security. Some of the athlete-friendly features and security technologies are described here.

  • The SAFESystem A and B bottles are made from a proprietary polymer material, which is not only stronger and lighter than glass, but also contains tamper-evident and anti-counterfeit qualities to deliver state-of-the-art security.
  • The bottle openings are approximately three time larger than other kits, making it much easier for athletes to distribute samples into the A and B bottles.
  • The bottles feature a trihexagonal shape intended to improve grip and usability.
  • The locking mechanism is entirely transparent and fully engages in just three clicks every time.
  • Unique alpha-numeric IDs ensure the anonymity of athletes’ samples.
  • The SAFESystem features a partial sample vault and security tag to ensure the integrity of partial samples until the full sample is ready for processing.
  • The SAFESystem is a universal collection kit and can secure both urine and blood samples, eliminating the need for two different kits and improving the consistency of collections.

3. How often will I see the InnoVero kits and who else can use them besides USADA?

Athletes will experience SAFESystem kits every time they are tested by a USADA DCO when full implementation is realized after October 2020. The SAFESystem may also be used by other national anti-doping organizations and testing agencies. However, athletes should be aware that they may continue to experience other World Anti-Doping Code-compliant sample collection equipment during collections, both in and out-of-competition.  

4. Does the sample collection process change?

The sample collection process will remain generally the same and some processes will even be more streamlined. For example, distribution of samples will be easier with a no-drip collection cup and larger sample bottle openings. Athletes will also only need to turn the lid three time to secure the A and B sample bottles.

The partial sample process is perhaps the most significant change athletes will experience. With the SAFESystem, athletes will quickly and securely store partial samples in a partial sample vault that is protected with a unique ID security tag and only accessible when athletes are ready to process a full sample.

5. What are the key security features?

Superior to glass, the proprietary polymer material that forms the SAFESystem bottles is embedded with tamper-evident and anti-counterfeit technologies. The locking mechanism is also fully transparent and contained within the bottles once properly sealed, making the locking mechanism inaccessible. The only way samples can be accessed is through a special opening device provided only to World Anti-Doping Agency accredited laboratories.

6. How can I be sure that these are secure?

In developing the SAFESystem, InnoVero engaged sport technology innovators and the stakeholders who are most familiar with anti-doping equipment, including athletes and laboratories, to help identify the most effective features, materials, and processes required for a secure sample collection solution. More than two years of research yielded tamper-evident and anti-counterfeit technologies, a resilient bottle material, and an inaccessible locking mechanism.

7. Is USADA producing the SAFESystem kits?

No, USADA is not producing the SAFESystem kits. InnoVero, which was founded by USADA and Major League Baseball before becoming independent in 2020, is responsible for developing and producing the equipment.

8. Will there ever be an event where I have a choice of Berlinger or InnoVero?

No, athletes will not have a choice of sample collection equipment. USADA will use SAFESystem equipment exclusively once full implementation is realized after October 2020. Other national anti-doping organizations and testing agencies may continue to utilize alternative sample collection solutions, such as Berlinger. Athletes will be subject to the sample collection kit in use by USADA or other testing agencies at the time of the test.

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