COVID PCR Test False-Positives
Controversy Surrounding COVID PCR Test False-Positives [ originally written September 2020 ]
Half of the positive PCR test results from some labs may actually be false-positives—reference below.
This issue will fuel speculation that authorities on the political left are abusing PCR test flaws to justify lockdowns and to justify mail-in ballots that are easier to manipulate. The added fear in the public from the additional “cases” may make people more accepting of hastily tested vaccines, a potential boon for Big Pharma.
An assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard Medical School, Michael Mina, explains in a Harvard Magazine article that the PCR test amplifies viral RNA to detectable levels.
However the test can also ”detect tiny fragments of viral RNA even after the patient has recovered.”
“the vast majority of PCR positive tests we currently collect in this country are actually finding people long after they have ceased to be infectious.”
This article at Sky News presents similar information from a study at Oxford.
“they found the tests were able to detect traces of the virus’s genetic material for a much longer period than it remains infectious”
There is also the issue of the threshold or amount of detectable viral RNA required to cause a test to be classified as positive.
Dr Mobeen Syed in his recent video about the PCR test controversy expresses great disappointment that the US FDA has not set a standard threshold. The 5 minute segment also presents the basics about PCR tests. It includes statements from the FDA and CDC—spoiler alert, officials kicking a can down the road.
In this 2 minute clip the Chief of Emergency Medicine at E. Virginia Med School hospital, the very admirable Dr. Paul Marik, presents and explains a graph of data comparing PCR test results with actual culture test results. The results are strikingly DIFFERENT! There are far more positive PCR tests, especially when the test was done more than 8 days after onset of symptoms.
It is Marik’s view that after day 8 or so the PCR test is most likely picking up debris from dead viruses.
Later in the video, Dr Marik and Dr Syed present a similar graph but with the cycle threshold clearly visible. Notice that there are NO positive culture tests above the threshold of 30, yet many labs use a much higher threshold of 40. This causes many more tests to be classified as positive, possibly false-positive.
In this clip Dr. Chris Martenson describes a study of one lab using the higher threshold of 40. If the lab used a threshold of 35, HALF of the people who were considered positive would have been negative.
In this one minute clip Martenson presents study data suggesting that after 34 cycles it was not possible to cultivate live virus.
An article from Oxford’s CEBM presents the following:
“This detection problem is ubiquitous for RNA viruses detection. SARS-CoV… viral RNA can be detected long after the disappearance of the infectious virus.”
A study at Sciencedirect reports, “Positive results with high cycle threshold values were only seen in healthcare workers.”
It is the view of Martenson and others that all PCR tests should include the number of cycles that were required to produce the positive result. If only 20 cycles were required for the positive, it would suggest a high viral load requiring prompt medical attention.
The CEO of a hospital in India says they switched to a lab that includes the cycle threshold. He goes on, “If the value is between 20 and 25, home isolation [with remote case monitoring] can be advised….Hospital admission is a must in cases where the value is less than 20.”
This issue is gaining some traction in mainstream media.
MSN reports, “Up to 90 percent of people tested for COVID-19 in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada in July carried barely any traces of the virus and it could be because today’s tests are ‘too sensitive’, experts say.”
The title of an article at the NY Times is, “Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive. Maybe It Shouldn’t Be.” It quotes Dr. Mina and others about the excessively high threshold of 40.
The labs have an obvious motive to set the threshold higher than necessary. Additional positive tests will result in additional follow-up test$.
In this short clip Martenson questions the honesty of the UK health minister about accuracy of the PCR test.