EB is the only legally defensible drug test available on the commercial market for professional use that is low cost, non-invasive and non-intrusive. EB offers highly differentiating and immediate benefits for everyone involved in the process. For example:
The EB specimen collection procedure is not physically or psychologically invasive for the donor. EB is a less intrusive and less embarrassing procedure, compared to directly observed urine specimen collection, as well as being a quicker, easier and more convenient collection process for everyone involved. There is no requirement for a donor to partially undress, remove bulky clothing or wash their hands. Sample provision is simple; the donor only has to breath through a thin filter. Unlike other matrices, none of the donor’s DNA information is present in the resulting EB sample used for analysis.
EB specimen sample collection is more hygienic and easier for the Collector to administer and monitor. It is very difficult for a donor to tamper with, adulterate or switch the sample whilst under constant observation by the Collector. There is no requirement for the gender of the Collector to be matched with a donor, as is the case with urine sampling. In certain situations it could be possible for a Collector to monitor the sampling of multiple (and mixed gender) donors simultaneously. Also, an exhaled breath sample is always available and there is plenty of it. Sample transportation is simplified and postage costs reduced (size and weight) compared to a liquid (urine).
Once the initial step of specimen extraction (filter wash) and analyte preparation is completed in the lab, the remainder of the EB analysis process (HPLC-MS/MS) is similar to that already established for other matrices and uses the existing installed base of analytical instrumentation in testing labs.
Testing Authorities/Governing Bodies:
EB offers considerable benefit in terms of cost saving and convenience for testing authorities since EB is quick and easy to use, whilst not requiring the provision of support resources such as privacy/toilet/wash/screening facilities or approved liquid refreshments. This can allow for more rapid and frequent testing as well as testing of larger group numbers. For example, in the case of doping control in sports, more frequent testing of more athletes, may serve to increase the deterrence value of anti-doping programs, with minimum inconvenience on an athlete’s schedule. These practical considerations, together with the non-intrusive nature of the EB sampling process, means that it is strongly preferred by donors and therefore less likely to cause offence. Detection Times for breath closely mimic those for blood and EB test results are based on HPLC-MS/MS lab analysis, which is court admissible and legally defensible. Also, unlike all other sample matrices, the EB specimen used for analysis in the lab, contains no DNA from the donor, which may serve to avoid potential civil rights/legal issues. EB samples can be stored for long periods before testing.
Anti-doping/Performance Enhancing Drugs Testing:
As is sometimes the case during urine specimen collection, the Collector may be required to prepare the specimen (pour the liquid into two glass specimen containers) and carry out certain screening tests. For example; to measure temperature using a thermometer or test strip, to measure the concentration (specific gravity) using a handheld refractometer, to measure the pH using instant read-out strips. These measurements are made to verify each urine sample is genuine and ready to be sent to the lab.
However, in the case of EB, the same sampling device used to collect the specimen from the donor, is also used to transport the specimen to the lab. The specimen remains held by the filter, which is enclosed within the housing, at all times. The housing is not opened by the Collector. The Collector is not required to process the specimen in any way, except to seal the unit and prepare it for packaging and transport to the testing lab for analysis, using the appropriate chain-of-custody protocol.
Since EB sample Collectors are not required to do any sample preparation, measurements or screening tests to verify that an EB specimen is genuine, suitable, sufficient or adequate, this serves to reduce overall collection costs, collection time, support resources and skills training, whilst reducing possible sources of contamination. Also, reducing procedural complexity can reduce administrative errors and so decrease the risk of invalidating the legal defensibility of a test result.