PCR test concerns takes approx 10 mins to read. There are optional videos to watch and a list of all the links included at the bottom. Also includes a brilliant article explaining how use of the PCR test once created a pseudo epidemic, fascinating reading.
This article was updated on 21st January 2021 to include the latest WHO information on these tests, issued on 20th January 2020. This information paves the way for changes to PCR testing. Please read this article in light of this additional WHO Guidance.
Also consider the multitude of ways in which any changes to the Ct threshold could be spun, especially in light of the current lockdowns and vaccine role out.
Here is an extract from the latest WHO information:
Diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 states that careful interpretation of weak positive results is needed (1). The cycle threshold (Ct) needed to detect virus is inversely proportional to the patient’s viral load. Where test results do not correspond with the clinical presentation, a new specimen should be taken and retested using the same or different NAT technology.
“It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills.”
I am sharing this information as an act of Radical Self Care. This type of self care is radical because sometimes it requires us to be brave, to speak on behalf of those with no voice, those who do not know and those for whom voicing an opinion is too dangerous.
I live nested within circles of connection. My care and concern extends outwards from myself to include family, friends, my community and ultimately this wonderful world we all live in. If something is amiss in one it affects all. To this end I am making my PCR test concerns public because I care deeply about our world and all its creatures. This test may be causing harm.
Perhaps there is a simple explanation that will put all my concerns to rest. I hope so. If you have information which can help please comment below.
Something serious is going on in our country people are dying, I do not deny that. There is a coronavirus circulating. However my concerns are regarding the efficacy of the information being given to the public and the level of alarm and fear raised by testing results which are potentially misleading.
Early on in this pandemic I came across information about the PCR test which suggested that there might be an issue with using it to diagnose Covid-19. I went on to write a blog, Tested, what are you assuming that means? This primarily explained that the test cannot tell if someone is infectious.
PCR test concerns
Since then I have discovered even more about this test. My investigations led me to query the Cycle threshold (Ct). The Ct is the number of times the sample has to be amplified in order to find the target being sought. In this case a fragment of RNA from the virus.
The Ct does not seem to be published anywhere. I asked a friend who works in a senior position in a Scottish hospital if she could find out for me. She could not, even the hospital lab did not know.
I then decided to write to my MSP hoping he could find the answer for me. He is a member of the Scottish Cabinet, so I thought it would be a fairly straight forward request. What is the Ct value currently being used in Scotland? After a reply saying it might take sometime due his current workload I decided to do a FOI request to Public Health Scotland.
Why is the Ct so important?
In the 14 min video below Vincent Racaniello, Ph.D. Professor of Microbiology & Immunology explains how the test works and what results mean.
The research referred to by Vincent has been used in a court of law. A judge in Portugal found that the PCR tests are unreliable, and that it is unlawful to quarantine people based solely on a PCR test.
The research quoted in the video is titled Correlation Between 3790 Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction–Positives Samples and Positive Cell Cultures, Including 1941 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Isolates. It states that:
“It can be observed that at Ct = 25, up to 70% of patients remain positive in culture and that at Ct = 30 this value drops to 20%. At Ct = 35, the value we used to report a positive result for PCR, <3% of cultures are positive.”
They took the test samples and attempted to culture them to show that there was indeed virus present. As you can see the higher the Ct value the less positive cultures they obtained, concluding that, “these high Ct values are mostly correlated with low viral loads.”
In other words the research is suggesting that higher Ct values, over 35 cycles, show less than a 3% positive culture rate. Hence why Vincent tells us,
“Random testing of people only works if it is done often. One PCR test on its own is not informative, especially in a case like mine when the Ct value is quite high.”
Feeling increasingly concerned about these tests I sent all this information to my MSP. After all this is how positive cases, hospital and ICU admissions and deaths are all calculated. What if it is wrong?
We already know these figures are potentially misleading because of the way tests are used. Public Health Scotland’s Covid-19 daily dashboard explains that:
- Test positive within 28 days of death = Covid death
- Test positive within 21 days of ICU admission = Covid ICU patient
- Test positive within 14 days of a hospital admission = Covid hospitalisation
If the Ct value is low then those testing positively may be carrying a high viral load and therefore more likely to be infectious, ill or have died with Covid. If however the Ct value is high a positive result could presumably mean something else altogether. They may have already had the virus in the past for example but it is not part of the current picture. You can read more about the issues with interpreting PCR results in the Public Health England Guidance here.
In addition the more testing being done the more positives are found. In fact currently the testing levels have increased at higher rates than the positives samples being found. Sadly they only report the increasing positive test results and omit to tell us how many more people they tested to find those. The UK Government daily summary is interesting in this respect.
I believe this is dangerous because of the fear it engenders. Fear creates stress in our bodies which in turn lowers our immunity.
My concerns increased even more in mid December when the WHO issued new information for users of the PCR test. This information states that,
“The design principle of RT-PCR means that for patients with high levels of circulating virus (viral load), relatively few cycles will be needed to detect virus and so the Ct value will be low. Conversely, when specimens return a high Ct value, it means that many cycles were required to detect virus. In some circumstances, the distinction between background noise and actual presence of the target virus is difficult to ascertain.”
I sent this information to my MSP. Again expressing my concerns that the test results could be potentially misleading to the public.
As you will know, if you read my blog regularly, I am particularly alarmed about the level of mental illness and other harms being caused by the Government’s response to the virus, and the long term impacts this will have on our society. If the test results are potentially inaccurate and not fit for purpose, “Huston we have a problem.”
My MSP let me know he could not answer due to workload, which I am sure is substantial during this time. I returned a fairly long email expressing again why I felt it was so important.
The horses mouth
I then decided to go to the horses mouth, as it were. I made my Freedom of Information request to Public Health Scotland. They answered on 30 December 2020:
“After a search of our records, we can confirm that the usual rate is approximately 40 cycles. The actual figure depends on the assay and equipment setting as well as the PCR reaction setting. If an exact cycle number of each assay is required, it is best to approach each individual Health Board.”
The very helpful person who answered provided me with the contact emails for all health boards in Scotland. I can therefore make individual FOI requests to ascertain further information, should I wish to.
Not surprisingly I informed my MSP and yet again expressed my concern. I ended that email with:
“It may be that I am hugely mistaken, if that is the case could you please explain why and provide me with the evidence to support the Governments view.”
I have also written to Mairi Gougeon Minister for Public Health Scotland. I included the research and WHO information I had sent my MSP. Her reply acknowledged receipt of the information and that she had past my email on to her Ministerial Office for consideration.
I have since discovered that a group of scientists have called for the retraction of the Corman-Drosten paper which started the whole PCR detection method. Their letter states that,
“After careful consideration, our international consortium of Life Science scientists found the Corman-Drosten paper is severely flawed with respect to its biomolecular and methodological design.”
Kevin McKernan one of those scientist recently gave this full and fascinating video interview about the test. He explains in detail the issues present in this test and how it is being used. Swabbing issues, lack of scientific controls, asymptomatic spread, consent issues and more, are all explored in detail. Interestingly a muti-million dollar global business is now thriving because of the testing regimes. I can’t help but wonder who might be pushing the testing agenda. He begins:
“I don’t think enough of the public understands the boundaries of this PCR test. Unfortunately it has turned into a scoreboard on percent positivity as to whether or not countries lockdown harder or lower. We really have to educate the public that this is not a meaningful test of the epidemiology of the disease.”
Dr Clare Craig, British Consultant Pathologist echoes many of these concerns. In this video she explains some of the potential problems with using this test and how they may be impacting the statistics. She also tells the story of an epidemic that never was, caused by testing; a false positive pseudo-epidemic.
Update 21st January: this video has already been marked as private (aka censored) by Youtube. Go and check her out on Bitchute, Brandnewtube and elsewhere to hear what she has to say. In the meantime here is another video where she discusses the tests and her interview on The Highwire.
Here is a fascinating article from the New York Times in 2007, Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic that Wasn’t about the pseudo-epidemic Dr. Craig referred to in the disappeared video. It ends with this quote from an infectious disease specialist:
“No single test result is absolute and that is even more important with a test result based on P.C.R.”
Finally another video, this one very recent, published on 12th January 2021. Sam Bailey a doctor from New Zealand provides a deeper dive into what the test is, how it works and what the potential problems can be. She also rebuts false claims made in the press and explains why we need to be cautious in our use of this test.
So what do you think?
This test is one of the main drivers of the pandemic, do we need to know more? I personally think we do.
All the PCR test concerns may turn out to be false. However if they don’t, and there are issues, one things is for sure, my MSP and the current Scottish Health Minister can never say they did not know.
I can only hope that this quote is not true.
“If you tell a lie that’s big enough, and you tell it often enough, people will believe you’re telling the truth, even if what you’re saying is total crap.”
- My previous blog – Tested, what are you assuming that means?
- Collected Pandemic blogs – Corona time
- Pandemic Information on this website – Exploring the Pandemic
- Research paper – Between 3790 Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction–Positives Samples and Positive Cell Cultures, Including 1941 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Isolates.
- Scottish daily statistics dashboard –Covid-19 daily dashboard
- Public Health England guidance – Understanding cycle threshold (Ct) in SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR
- UK Government daily statistics – Daily summary
- WHO information –WHO issued new information
- NYTimes article – Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t
- Retraction Paper –Corman-Drosten paper
- Collecting evidence of harms caused by using PCR – PCR claims
- Vincent Racaniello, Ph.D. Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
- Kevin McKernan – Genomics expert
- Dr Clare Craig, British Consultant Pathologist
- Dr. Clare Craig addressing parents.
- Dr. Clare Craig – The Highwire interview.
- Dr. Sam Bailey -New Zealand Medical Doctor
Disclaimer: The views expressed here, in blog posts and on the website Change Is Always Possible are those of the author Mairi Stones alone, and do not represent the views of any associated bodies. We do not diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Information provided in this blog is not intended to substitute advice, treatment and/or diagnosis from qualified medical and nutritional professionals.