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Russian biotechnologist: “WADA can ban anything at any time. It’s politics”

Russian biotechnologist: “WADA can ban anything at any time. It’s politics”
Photo: Alexey Vitvitsky / RIA Novosti

Although Russian sport is currently isolated from the world community, it does not stand still. This applies not only to the results of athletes, but also to advanced developments in sports medicine. True, now the difficulty in the development of drugs lies not so much in its useful properties, but in how the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) would not ban a new development.

We talked about this and many other things with the famous Russian biotechnologist, candidate of sciences Ilya Dukhovlinov, who was recently awarded the medal of the first degree by the All-Russian Society of Inventors.

– Ilya, tell us first about the award you received for developments in the field of sports medicine.

– I have been working in this field for more than 15 years, and our focus is not only on athletes, but also on solving problems associated with a wider range of medical problems and aging. In fact, many sports drugs are very useful for ordinary people who deal with health problems. We have succeeded in creating products that support the restoration of mitochondria, both in nervous and muscle tissue. And in addition to the sports aspect, this is applicable in the treatment of the consequences of a stroke, multiple sclerosis, dystrophy, heart attack, and traumatic injuries. We have discovered the importance of the level of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in immune cells necessary for effective vaccination. Mitochondria and ATP are not only in nerves and muscles. It’s also immunity. Very few people know that it is the immune system that is closely related to regeneration. I want to thank VOIR (All-Russian Society of Inventors) for the fruitful implementation, assistance in implementation and the highest appreciation of my work.

Russian biotechnologist: “WADA can ban anything at any time. It’s politics”
Photo: Personal archive of Ilya Dukhovlinov

– What are scientists working on now to help athletes?

  • The key elements in the preparation of an athlete are the ability to restore and regenerate injuries. In recovery, the resynthesis of ATP, the main energy molecule of the body, is very important. This process also depends on the required number of mitochondria. Interestingly, the ability to resynthesize ATP decreases with age. By the state of mitochondria, you can even quite accurately determine how old a person is. The older – the lower the ability to generate ATP. The athlete has a similar situation, but not only age affects, but also physical activity. It is necessary to ensure the fastest possible recovery after training stress. We are developing drugs that help recovery. Damage regeneration is a must after training exercises. Microtraumas, cartilage deformation – everything needs to be restored. At the same time, it is important that the created drugs are not included in the classes of substances from the WADA prohibited list.

– After all, it can happen that you have been developing a drug for years, and WADA takes it and includes it on the banned list?

  • WADA can ban anything at any time. Our task is to create drugs that are as close to natural as possible, which act not by stimulating, but by reconstructing the resources of the body. My approach: I am against the endless activation of the nervous system and metabolism. We need to give the body the opportunity to restore what was spent as efficiently as possible.
  • A very complicated process, what is considered doping and what is not. How not to cross this line in development?
  • The created substance should not cause wear and tear of the body or consume its resources. It must create new ones. All stimulating effects must be removed. In this case, the substance should be as close as possible to natural. No newer synthetics that are not found in the body. What counts as doping is largely a political issue. Anything can be considered doping at any time.

Today it is generally accepted that doping is the conscious use of a substance that is excessive for a normally functioning athlete’s body, or an excessive dose of a drug, with the sole purpose of artificially increasing physical activity and endurance during sports competitions.

Russian biotechnologist: “WADA can ban anything at any time. It’s politics”
Photo: Grigory Sysoev / RIA Novosti

But what is the normal functioning of the body? We want athletes to lift 260 kg, run 100 meters in 9 seconds and jump 6 meters. It is difficult to call this the normal functioning of the body. In my opinion, the use of many drugs can be justified under such harsh conditions of sports performance. Teams from some countries make certificates from doctors that supposedly their athletes are sick. After that, they can legally take doping, calling it a medicine. As you can see, the question of what is considered doping and how it can be taken is a political one.

– Yes, many foreigners receive medical clearance and legalize doping. With your developments, will a medical clearance be needed?

No, we don’t go that route. We create substances from which there is no harm. Everything is backed up by relevant research. And many of these substances are applicable in parallel in conventional medicine for the treatment of a number of diseases.

– The most popular sport in Russia is football. Are your inventions suitable for football players?

– Undoubtedly. Football players are not only exposed to significant stress, injuries, but also in great need of support and restoration of immunity. This category of athletes is a very frequent consumer of our inventions.