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The secret Cold War origins of Sharapova's doping drug

from CNN

The origins of meldonium, the banned drug used by Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova, are shrouded in Soviet-era secrecy.

Back in the Soviet Union's heyday, scientists tested meldonium on athletes in clandestine state-run labs, according to Ivar Kalvins, the Latvian chemist who invented the drug.

Kalvins asserts that decades ago he was shown the results of those tests, and they support what Sharapova has told the world: Meldonium is medicinal, not performance-enhancing. "Most athletes should be on this drug," he said. "It protects the heart." But he doesn't have the actual studies to support his claims.

"These trials were never published," Kalvins said, citing the secrecy of the era. He said the Soviets wouldn't even give him -- the inventor of the drug -- a copy of the results. There's no use in trying to find the studies now, he added. Most of the people who were involved back in the 1980s "are not with us in this world, and the rest, for sure will not speak about things," Kalvins told CNN. "It is Russia still." more

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