The Partnership for Clean Competition (PCC), a non-profit that funds anti-doping research, has partnered with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee to test athletes for COVID-19. The testing will help guide recommendations for sports organizations as they plan returns to training and competition. It will also provide invaluable information about infection rates in the athlete population.
USOPC Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Finnoff said, “These tests will give us the first epidemiological profile of COVID-19 in the elite athlete population. We want to know how prevalent the virus is, but we also want to know how an athlete’s body will respond.”
The USOPC welcomed 25 Team USA athletes to the Olympic & Paralympic Training Centers for training as part of a phased reopening of the facilities in early July.
The testing of those athletes, provided by this partnership, resulted in one athlete testing positive for COVID-19, while another athlete tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. In addition to quarantining the currently infected athlete, USOPC officials were able to conduct contact tracing and quarantine those that had sustained contact with the positive athlete.
The PCC will help pay for the program, which falls outside of its typical area of clean sport. The PCC funds more than 70% of the world’s anti-doping research.
PCC Executive Director Michael Pearlmutter pointed out, “At the end of the day, anti-doping is about athlete health and safety, so while this isn’t our typical area of focus, we felt called to work with the USOPC on this project.”
The PCC has provided the USOPC with $75,000, which will cover testing for 250 athletes.
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