WHO calls into question ability of RT-PCR test to detect COVID-19 (false positives)

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The World Health Organization recently put up a notice on their website expressing how PCR tests may not be entirely accurate when it comes to detecting COVID-19 cases.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are so many doctors and scientists who oppose the measures being taken by multiple governments never given a chance to share their opinions in front of millions, like Dr. Anthony Fauci is, for example.

What Happened: On December 14th the World Health Organization (WHO) released a notice on their website titled “WHO Information Notice for IVD Users” regarding “nucleic acid testing (NAT) technologies that use real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for detection of SARS-CoV-2.”

In it they state that people who test positive for COVID-19 may not actually have COVID-19, known as false positives. They state the following,

WHO has received user feedback on an elevated risk for false SARS-CoV-2 results when testing specimens using RT-PCR reagents on open systems.As with any diagnostic procedure, the positive and negative predictive values for the product in a given testing population are important to note. As the positivity rate for SARS-CoV-2 decreases, the positive predictive value also decreases. 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 positivity rate decreases, irrespective of the assay specificity. Therefore, healthcare providers are encouraged to take into consideration testing results along with clinical signs and symptoms, confirmed status of any contacts, etc.

The idea that some people who test positive for COVID-19 may not actually have COVID-19 has been a common theme during this pandemic as many scientists and doctors have called into question the efficacy of the test for declaring a pandemic. For example, 22 researchers have put out a paper explaining why, according to them, it’s quite clear that the PCR test is not effective in for identifying COVID-19 cases. As a result we may be seeing a significant amount of false positives. False negatives are also a possibility. They claim that the test is completely useless for detecting COVID-19.

You can read the entire paper and the evidence behind their reasoning here. The site where the paper is found was put up by Prof. Dr. Ulrike Kämmerer, specialist in Virology / Immunology / Human Biology / Cell Biology, University Hospital Würzburg, Germany, Dr. Pieter Borger (MSc, PhD), Molecular Genetics, W+W Research Associate, Lörrach, Germany and Rajesh Kumar Malhotra (Artist Alias: Bobby Rajesh Malhotra), Former 3D Artist / Scientific Visualizations at CeMM – Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (2019-2020), University for Applied Arts – Department for Digital Arts Vienna, Austria.

It was a response to a  recent publication titled “Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR” arguing that the tests are indeed accurate.

As a result of these concerns and inaccuracies with testing many doctors, scientists and journalists are urging government health authorities to listen to them when it comes to their recommendations for mass testing. For example, an article recently published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) titled “Covid-19: Mass testing is inaccurate and gives false sense of security, minister admits” explains how the testing being deployed in parts of the UK is simply not at all accurate for asymptomatic people and argues that it cannot accurately determine if one is positive or negative. The article expresses the opinion that asymptomatic people should simply not be tested because of the inaccuracies of the tests being used, and there is also much controversy as to whether or not asymptomatic people can even spread the virus and infect others.

Another article published in the BMJ titled “Screening the health population for covid-19 is of unknown value, but is being introduced nationwide” shares the same type of sentiments.

More Statements Regarding False Positives

As far as false positives go, the Deputy Medical Officer of Ontario, Canada, Dr. Barbara Yaffe recently stated that COVID-19 testing may yield at least 50 percent false positives. This means that people who test positive for COVID may not actually have it.

In July, professor Carl Heneghan, director for the centre of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University and outspoken critic of the current UK response to the pandemic, wrote a piece titled “How many Covid diagnoses are false positives?” He has argued that the proportion of positive tests that are false in the UK could also be as high as 50%.

As far back as 2007, Gina Kolata published an article in the New York times about how declaring virus pandemics based on PCR tests can end in a disaster. The article was titled Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t.

Former scientific advisor at Pfizer, Dr. Mike Yeadon, also one of the authors of the paper discussed at the beginning of this article,  argued that the proportion of positive tests that are false may actually be as high as 90%.

The Bulgarian Pathology Association claims that PCR tests are “scientific meaningless” to detect COVID-19. They cite an article published in “Off Guardian” that goes into more detail and explanation as to why.

The idea that many COVID-19 cases around the world could be false positives is quite a common theme. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab stated that,

The false positive rate is very high, so only seven percent of tests will be successful in identifying those that actually have the virus.

Is Raab implying a 93 percent false positive rate?

A Portuguese court recently determined that the PCR tests used to detect COVID-19 are not able to prove an infection beyond a reasonable doubt. You can read more about that story here.

A number of everyday citizens have also come forward expressing their doubts, including some high profile people like Elon Musk for example. He recently revealed he had four tests completed in one day. Using the same test and the same nurse, he received two positive results and two negative results, causing him to state his belief that “something bogus” is going on here. He then asked his Twitter following

In your opinion, at what Ct number for the cov2 N1 gene should a PCR test probably be regarded as positive? If I’m asking the wrong question, what is a better question?”

In the Portuguese appeal hearing, Jaafar et al. (2020) was cited, stating that “if someone is testing by PCR as positive when a threshold of 35 cycles or higher is used (as is the rule in most laboratories in Europe and the US), the probability that said person is infected is  <3%, and the probability that said result is a false positive is 97%.”  The court further noted that the cycle threshold used for the PCR tests currently being made in Portugal is unknown.

I just wanted to provide a brief background as to why there is so much controversy out there regarding COVID-19 testing and false positives.

On the other side of the coin,

According to Dr. Matthew Oughton, an infectious diseases specialist at the McGill University Health Centre and the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal:

”The rate of false positives with this particular test is quite low. In other words, if the test comes back saying positive, then believe it, it’s a real positive.”

According to Dr. Robert H. Shmerling, Senior Faculty Editor at Harvard Health Publishing.

False negatives – that is, a test that says you don’t have the virus when you actually do have the virus – may occur. The reported rate of false negatives is as low as 2% and as high as 37%. The false positive rate – that is, how often the test says you have the virus when you actually do not – should be close to zero. Most false-positive results are thought to be due to lab contamination or other problems with how the lab has performed the test, not limitations of the test itself

Why This Is Important: This information is important because it sheds light on the accuracy of the testing, which in turn is being used to justify lockdown measures all over the world. For some reason, mainstream media is giving no attention to the tens and thousands of doctors, scientists and peer-reviewed publications that are and have been raising great concerns with lockdown measures to combat COVID-19.

For example, Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician and epidemiologist initiated The Great Barrington Declaration. It also has an impressive list of co-signers and has now been signed by approximately 50,000 doctors and scientists all over the world.

They argue that we can protect the vulnerable without lockdown measures.

The declaration opposes lockdown measures for multiple reasons, one of the is that the survival rate of COVID-19 for people under 70 years of age is 99.95 percent, and they claim that COVID-19 is less dangerous than the flu for children.

The Great Barrington Declaration states the following:

“Covid-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza. As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e.  the point at which the rate of new infections is stable…”

The British Medical Journal article cited earlier emphasizes that “Taken together, the data are clear both that national lockdowns are not a necessary condition for Covid-19 infections to decrease and that the Prime Minister was incorrect to suggest to MPs that infections were increasing rapidly in England prior to lockdown and that without national measures, the NHS would be overwhelmed.”

Another article published in the British Medical Journal  has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom as a result of the new coronavirus may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the peak of the virus. You can read more about that and access it here.

Small business around the globe are being killed, while big chain business and Big Food chains like Walmart, for example, are thriving.

An estimate from the United Nations World Food Program indicates that pandemic lockdowns causing breaks in the food chain are expected to push 135 million people into severe hunger and starvation by the end of this year.

The idea that herd immunity can be reached was ridiculed by mainstream media, particularly Dr. Anthony Fauci after The Great Barrington Declaration started to gain traction. Fauci was able to share his opinion across the planet with access to multiple mainstream media networks. The Great Barrington Declaration was largely ignored, ridiculed, and the doctors/scientists who support it were not given an opportunity to respond, nor have they been given any air time on any mainstream media network.

Below is an interesting re-tweet from Michael Levitt, a nobel prize winning chemist from Stanford University. It gives you something to think about that’s on par with the discussion being had in this article regarding PCR tests.

If Testing Isn’t Accurate, How Many Deaths Marked As “COVID” Deaths Have Actually Been A Result of COVID?

Another common theme during this pandemic seems to be the idea that people who are dying of other causes are also being counted as COVID-19 deaths, thus possibly giving an inaccurate death count when it comes to attributing deaths to COVID-19.

For example, according to Ontario (Canada) public health, “Any case marked ast “Fatal” is included in the deaths data. Deaths are included whether or not COVID-19 was determined to be a contributing or underlying cause of death…”

“As a result of how data is recorded by health units into public health information databases, the ministry is not able to accurately separate how many people died directly because of COVID versus those who died with a COVID infection,” Ontario Ministry of Health Senior Communications Advisor Anna Miller (source)

This means that if someone dies from suicide for example, a car accident or a heart attack, they may still be counted in the COVID-19 death count.

If you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live and then you were also found to have COVID, that would be counted as  COVID death, despite if you died of a clear alternative cause it’s still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone who is listed as a COVID death that doesn’t mean that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of death. – Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health

Toronto Public Health tweeted in late June that “Individuals who have died with COVID-19, but not as a result of COVID-19, are included in the case counts for COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.”

According to the CDC, for 6% of the deaths attributed to COVID-19, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For all other deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death. You can read more about that here.

These are a few of many examples, I just wanted to get the point across.

Final Thoughts: Many of the thoughts and facts expressed in this article are opinions that the mainstream fails to have a proper discussion about. It seems that any type of controversial fact that calls into question the measures taken by governments and health authorities all over the world is completely ignored, ridiculed and sometimes even called a “conspiracy theory.” Never before have we seen so much science censored by Facebook “fact-checkers.”

Over the last few months, I have seen academic articles and op-eds by professors retracted or labeled “fake news” by social media platforms. Often, no explanation is provided. I am concerned about this heavy-handedness and, at times, outright censorship. – Vinay Prasad, MD, MPH (source)

Why is there a digital authoritarian Orwellian fact-checker going around censoring science that is passing through the peer-review process of multiple science journals? Should people not have the right to examine information transparently and openly and determine for themselves what is and what isn’t? Why do we fail to have these conversations? Why can’t we understand the viewpoint of another who does not agree with us, empathise with them and try to truly understand why they believe what they do?

Ultimately we have to ask ourselves if governments and health authorities are truly executing the will of the people or even listening to them and all, or simply listening to the ones who agree with them. Do we really want to live in a world where so many voices are silenced and censored? Should we really allow governments to have the authority to shut down the planet for a virus that has such a low mortality? Does mainstream media have the ability to make the majority seem like the minority and the minority seem like the majority? Should recommendations simply be made and people have the freedoms to do as they please when so many things just don’t seem right? Are we told the entire truth when it comes to global chaos and such events? Or, as the Editor of The BMJ recently expressed, has science become corrupt and politicized for ulterior motives?

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By Arjun Walia / Collective Evolution Reporter

I joined the CE team in 2010 shortly after finishing university and have been grateful for the fact that I have been able to do this ever since :) There are many things happening on the planet that don't resonate with me, and I wanted to do what I could to play a role in creating change. It's been great making changes in my own life and creating awareness and I look forward to more projects that move beyond awareness and into action and implementation.

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(Source: collective-evolution.com; December 19, 2020; https://tinyurl.com/y8fjejzr)
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