This news round has an eye towards the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) move to mitigate COVID spread on the World Cup as it eyes a new racing season.
Before we delve into that, we wanted to raise some awareness to a most excellent non-ski related podcast. In short, it’s called TWIV. Longform, it’s “This Week In Virology: the podcast about viruses – the kind that make you sick.”
No, it’s not The Devon Kershaw Show. That has its place too. TWIV is, as it states, a podcast about viruses. The discussions are solid, deep, and require a small background in microbiology. That said, it’s easy to stop the podcast, google a term, and feel somewhat up to speed as world experts discuss viruses that make you sick. In normal times, which these are not, maybe learning about viruses before a new kick wax application technique would seem backward. Not so now.
That’s the plug. TWIV is informative and grounds the listener in current research and trends related to COVID. You can find their website here, or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
We mention TWIV because, well, all things at this point circle back to COVID. That’s as true for cross-country skiing as anything else.
Last week, FIS made two posts related to COVID. One announced the Appointment of Rasmus Damsgaard as FIS Covid-19 Expert for Testing and Hygiene, the other was titled FIS adds Covid-19 antibodies test with Doping controls.
Back in June, FIS established its first set of guidelines for World Cup events. The aim remains to produce World Cup caliber events safe for all stakeholders. It follows that FIS should have in place a person responsible to ensure those guidelines are in place and implemented. Rasmus Damsgaard is that person.
According to FIS, Damsgaard currently works with the UCI and CADF, the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation. His UCI efforts involve establishing the UCI’s protocols for managing COVID. He also comes with important letters after his last name, MD and Ph.D. He is listed as a co-founder of Clearidium, a business focused on anti-doping services. He has published widely on a range of topics relating to doping and human performance. It appears from the FIS press release announcing Covid-19 antibodies test that it contracts with Clearidium for doping control work.
(FasterSkier will publish an interview with journalist Amy Jones. She recently covered a UCI certified cycling race in July and reported the following piece for Cycling Tips: How coronavirus has affected bike racing: An on-the-ground perspective.)
The second piece of COVID related news relates to FIS bundling Covid-19 antibody testing into their doping screenings. Here is some information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding antibody testing for Covid-19:
“A COVID-19 antibody test, also known as a serology test, is a blood test that can detect if a person has antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. COVID-19 antibody tests can help identify people who may have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus or have recovered from the COVID-19 infection.
“At this time, researchers do not know whether the presence of antibodies means that you are immune to the coronavirus in the future; or if you are immune, how long it will last.”
Again, antibody tests diagnose past infection, not necessarily an active infection. The UCI’s Covid-19 mitigation protocol relies heavily on PCR testing. PCR testing is best suited to diagnose an active case after which quarantine can be suggested.
FIS stated it will publish what it calls the “FIS Covid-19 Prevention Event Organisers Guidelines (winter edition)” in September.