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Doubts Concerning the PCR Diagnostic Test

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

The New York Times published an article written by Apoorva Mandavilli on Sept. 17, 2020, which raised doubts concerning the PCR diagnostic test accuracy. Apoorva Mandavilli is a reporter for The New York Times, focusing on science and global health. She is the 2019 winner of the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting.

Mandavilli reports the following: "The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample. The greater the viral load, the more likely the patient is to be contagious.

This number of amplification cycles needed to find the virus, called the cycle threshold, is never included in the results sent to doctors and coronavirus patients, although it could tell them how infectious the patients are.

In three sets of testing data that include cycle thresholds, compiled by officials in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada, up to 90 percent of people testing positive carried barely any virus, a review by The Times found.

On Thursday, the United States recorded 45,604 new coronavirus cases, according to a database maintained by The Times. If the rates of contagiousness in Massachusetts and New York were to apply nationwide, then perhaps only 4,500 of those people may actually need to isolate and submit to contact tracing."

The reason the problem with the PCR test exists is that the threshold is set to too high at 37 to 40 cycles. Experts agree that it should be set at 30 or even below. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration do not require a specific number of cycles to be run or even reported. This seems like a major oversite by the CDC and FDA, since the number of cycles weighs heavily on the accuracy of the PCR diagnostic test.

An important distinction to make before going further is this; the PCR diagnostic test does not amplify the covid-19 virus. Instead, it can only amplify genetic matter from the virus itself. Viruses such as covid-19 have to be cultured, usually in the flesh of animals or humans. The PCR diagnostic test cannot do that. The PCR diagnostic test can only manufacture more of the genetic matter that is placed in it.

If the PCR threshold is set at 30 cycles, then the genetic sample from a test swab will be amplified by over 1 billion times, which is 2^30. If you have a large viral load when tested, then the test results will show how much of a viral load you have and whether you should be quarantined. The problem is, the current PCR test threshold is set at 37 to 40. The viral load is the amount of virus. At a threshold of 40, the genetic sample is multiplied by over 1 trillion times. So, even if you have only a very tiny sample of genetic matter from a swab, the test results will show a very heavy viral load. This results in a greater percentage of people showing positive for covid-19 when they are in fact negative for covid-19.

Our bodies can handle a small exposure to the covid-19 virus without it creating an infection since our immune system will manufacture anti-bodies to kill the covid-19 virus. However, if we are exposed to a heavy load of covid-19, then we may develop an infection.

I believe this explains why our local grocery stores have not been impacted in a big way. I know of one major grocery store that many in San Angelo frequent probably at least once a week if not more, who have not had a single employee sick with covid-19 since this pandemic began. Undoubtedly, they have been exposed to covid-19 since customers come and go throughout the day. And by now, they have built up an immunity and continue to serve us and help us with our grocery purchases and questions, as attentively as before the covid-19 pandemic.

The New York Times article does not include another characteristic of the PCR diagnostic test which is crucial to our understanding. Let me explain. The PCR test takes a small sample at the back of our throat or inside our mouths. What is tested may only be a small fragment of genetic matter and not necessarily an entire strand of RNA. There are other coronaviruses that will contain the same RNA strand such as SARS for example, whose RNA is nearly identical to covid-19. Also, there are seven known coronaviruses that we are all exposed to on a regular basis. Four of which cause common colds in people. Three others are benign to us and cause us no harm whatsoever.

To make this clearer, suppose we were to compare our DNA with that of a Chimpanzee. Since the DNA of the Chimpanzee matches 99% of the human DNA, and if we then take a small genetic sample of our DNA and compare it with a small sample of DNA from a Chimpanzee using the PCR test, chances are that it would show that we are Chimpanzees. Perhaps in a very small percentage, it may not. The same happens when the PCR test is used to compare the genetic matter of a coronavirus such as one that causes the common cold, with the genetic matter of the covid-19. They will undoubtedly match up and then you will be diagnosed as having covid-19. For instance, this quote is taken from a spec sheet advertising a PCR test authorized by the FDA. Here is the quote: "Positive results may be due to past or present infection with non-SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strains, such as coronavirus KHU1, NL-63, OC43, or 229E."

When you take into consideration the threshold cycles being set to high, and the PCR diagnostic test not being able to distinguish one coronavirus from another, the end result is that there could be 90% fewer cases of covid-19 than has been reported. If we take all of the positive cases of covid-19 reported in Tom Green County, which by my count is 3,443 as of this morning, and consider that 90% may be false positive, then only 344.3 people have actually contracted covid-19 in Tom Green County. How do we account for all the deaths attributed to covid-19? Perhaps there are patients who have been wrongly diagnosed with covid-19, as I have shown in this essay, who died of already existing conditions. We have learned that if a person is diagnosed with covid-19 and dies of a heart attack, for instance, authorities will show on the death certificate that the person died due to covid-19. Do you remember when the CDC earlier this year stated that only 6% of the deaths reported so far could be directly attributed to covid-19? The remaining 94% of patients had underlying health conditions that could have led to their deaths.

Let us also consider the length of this pandemic so far. Normally, an influenza virus will run its course in 5 to 6 months. It usually ends when the weather turns warmer. However, the covid-19 pandemic has been active in the U.S. for going on 8 1/2 months. Dr. Fauci and other experts indicated back in February of this year that covid-19 would be like a severe influenza flu season. The most recent severe influenza flu season was in 2017-18. According to the CDC, 80,000 died that year of influenza. If the 2017-18 influenza flu season had been extended 2 1/2 more months, then 113,330 deaths would have resulted, considering the same death rate. Do you remember Dr. Birx of President's Coronavirus Task Force commenting in the Washington Times that "there is nothing from the CDC that I can trust.” and "Birx and others were frustrated with the CDC’s antiquated system for tracking virus data, which they worried was inflating some statistics — such as mortality rate and case count — by as much as 25 percent, according to four people present for the discussion or later briefed on it."

Have you observed what I have observed? When I am running errands, such as going to buy groceries, or stop by the hardware store, or go to the mall, do you hear a lot of people sneezing or coughing? I do not. It is usually very quiet in that regard. Even when I sit in Church for an hour and a half, it is usually very quiet during the services except for the cry of a little baby every so often. Compare that with the flu season when you are always seeing people with red noses and watery eyes and the sniffles, coughs and chills, and aching joints. Then we compare notes as to how sick we got trying to top one another with the severity of symptoms. However, you do not hear that happening during this so-called covid-19 pandemic. At least I have not.

By Wayne Hill

Trinity Insights Publications

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