In January 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended that the cycle threshold for the PCR test be run at 45 cycles. Despite the many warnings from experts the world over, it took until December 2020 for the World Health Organisation to finally admit that they have a “problem” with the test. The WHO received “feedback on an elevated risk of false SARS-CoV-2 results when testing specimens using RT-PCR reagents in open systems”. The ‘problem’ relates to a wholly arbitrary cycling process, which “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.”
However, more recently, the World Health Organisation finally acknowledged that the cycle threshold for the PCR test has been set too high. “WHO guidance diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 states that careful interpretation of weak positive results is needed. The cycle threshold 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.”
“WHO reminds IVD users that disease prevalence alters the predictive value of the test results; as disease prevalence decreases, the risk of false positive increases. This means that the probability that a person who has a positive result (SARS-CoV-2 detected) is truly infected with SARS-CoV-2 decreases as prevalence decreases, irrespective of the claimed specificity.”
“Most PCR assays are indicated as an aid for diagnosis; therefore, health care providers must consider any result in combination with timing of sampling, specimen type, assay specifics, clinical observations, patient history, confirmed status of any contacts, and epidemiological information.”
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the “detection of viral RNA may not indicate the presence of infectious virus or that 2019-nCoV is the causative agent for clinical symptoms”. The CDC continues by saying that the “performance of this test has not been established for monitoring treatment of 2019-nCoV infection” and that the PCR test “cannot rule out diseases caused by other bacterial or viral pathogens”.
The Corman-Drosten Review Report shows that “if someone is tested positive by PCR as positive when a threshold of 35 cycles or higher is used (as is the case in most laboratories in Europe & the US), the probability that said person is actually infected is less than 3%, the probability that said result is a false positive is 97%.”
In March 2020, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organisation, said that “we have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test”. The advice to test anyone and everyone, regardless of symptoms, using a flawed PCR test, has been an unmitigated public health disaster. It has resulted in the closure of businesses, the destruction of industries and the loss of life. It is time for those who are responsible to be held accountable.
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