The PCR Deception
Reports are streaming in, declaring a Dark Winter for the world due to COVID19. The media rushes to tell the public that case numbers are on the rise again. In response, case numbers are used to support calls for lockdowns, travel and dining restrictions, and the push for compulsory vaccines.
However, in recent months an abundance of evidence has shown that the “gold standard” procedure for detecting COVID-19 is unreliable and could be producing untold numbers of false positives. If this is the case, why are health officials around the world calling for more tests?
This report is a brief look into the history of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) procedure and the evidence that PCR is unreliable and should not be used as a determinant for the number of COVID-19 cases or as a factor in political decisions. Please share with friends and family to keep them informed, and if someone shared this with you, please watch with an open mind.
The PCR Deception
In the months since the COVID-19 panic began health authorities around the world have encouraged the public to “get tested” to help track the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID19. However, as fear and hysteria subside, the scientific community and public at large are calling into question the efficacy of the test used to determine a patients status.
The main test that is used to determine an individual status involves the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method. This incredibly sensitive technique was developed by Berkeley scientist Kary Mullis, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1993. The PCR method amplifies a small segment of DNA hundreds of times to make it easier to analyze. For COVID19, a process known as Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is used to detect SARS-CoV-2 by amplifying the virus’ genetic material so it can be detected by scientists.
PCR is sometimes described as a technique or process, but for simplicity we will refer to it as a test. PCR is viewed as the gold standard, however, it is not without problems. PCR amplifies a virus’s genetic material and then each sample goes through a number of cycles until a virus is recovered. This is known as the “cycle threshold” and has become a key component in the debate around the efficacy of the PCR test.
In late August 2020, I attended a press conference in Houston, Texas to ask Houston Health Authority Dr. David Persse about concerns about PCR.
Dr. Persse says that when the labs report numbers of COVID-19 cases to the City of Houston they only offer a binary option of “yes” for positive or “no” for negative. “But, in reality, it comes in what is called cycle-thresholds. It’s an inverse relationship, so the higher the number the less virus there was in the initial sample,” Persse explained. “Some labs will report out to 40 cycle-thresholds, and if they get a positive at 40 – which means there is a tiny, tiny, tiny amount of virus there – that gets reported to us as positive and we don’t know any different.”
Persse noted that the key question is, at what value is someone considered still infectious?
“Because if you test me and I have a tiny amount of virus, does that mean I am contagious? that I am still infectious to someone else? If you are shedding a little bit of virus are you just starting? or are you on the downside?.”
He believes the answer is for the scientific community to set a national standard for cycle-threshold. Unfortunately, a national standard would not solve the problems expressed by Dr. Persse.
UK Parliament and Scientists Have Concerns About PCR Test
In the first weeks of September 2020 a number of important revelations regarding PCR came to light. First, new research from the University of Oxford’s Center for Evidence-Based Medicine and the University of the West of England found that the PCR test poses the potential for false positives when testing for COVID-19. Professor Carl Heneghan, one of the authors of the study said there was a risk that an increase in testing in the UK will lead to an increase in the risk of “sample contamination” and thus an increase in COVID-19 cases.
The team reviewed evidence from 25 studies where virus specimens had positive PCR tests. The researchers state that the “genetic photocopying” technique scientists use to magnify the sample of genetic material collected is so sensitive it could be picking up fragments of dead virus from previous infections. The researchers reach a similar conclusion as Dr. David Persse, specifically they state:
“A binary Yes/No approach to the interpretation RT-PCR unvalidated against viral culture will result in false positives with segregation of large numbers of people who are no longer infectious and hence not a threat to public health.”
Heneghan, who is also the the editor of BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, told the BBC that the binary approach is a problem and tests should have a cut-off point so small amounts of virus do not lead to a positive result. This is because of the cycle threshold mentioned by Dr. Persse. A person who is shedding an active virus and someone who has leftover infection could both receive the same positive test result. Heneghan also stated that the test could be detecting old virus which would explain the rise in cases in the UK and said setting a standard for the cycle threshold would eliminate the quarantining and contact tracing of people who are healthy and help the public better understand the true nature of COVID-19.
Shortly after Heneghan’s criticisms the UK’s leading health agency, Public Health England, released an update on the testing methods used to detect COVID-19 and appeared to agree with Professor Heneghan regarding the concerns on the cycle threshold. On September 9, 2020, PHE released an update which concluded, “all laboratories should determine the threshold for a positive result at the limit of detection.”
This is not the first time Heneghan’s work has directly impacted the UK’s COVID-19 policies. In July 2020, UK health secretary Matt Hancock called for an “urgent review” of the daily COVID-19 death numbers produced by Public Health England after it was revealed the stats included people who died from other causes. The Guardian reported that Professor Heneghan and a fellow scientist released a paper showing that if someone dies after having tested positive for COVID-19, their death is recorded in the COVID-19 death statistics. A source in the Department of Health and Social Care told The Guadian, “You could have been tested positive in February, have no symptoms, then hit by a bus in July and you’d be recorded as a COVID death.’”
Heneghan also recently told the BMJ , “one issue in trying to interpret numbers of detected cases is that there is no set definition of a case. At the moment it seems that a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) positive result is the only criterion required for a case to be recognised.”
“In any other disease we would have a clearly defined specification that would usually involve signs, symptoms, and a test result. We are moving into a biotech world where the norms of clinical reasoning are going out of the window. A PCR test does not equal covid-19; it should not, but in some definitions it does.”
Heneghan says he is concerned that as soon as there is the appearance of an outbreak there is panic and over-reacting. “This is a huge problem because politicians are operating in a non-evidence-based way when it comes to non-drug interventions,” he stated.
Heneghan is correct that the scientific authorities ought to take false positives seriously, especially when a person can be sent to isolate or quarantine for weeks due to a positive test result. Even the U.S. FDA’s own fact sheet on testing acknowledges the dangers posed by false positives:
“ in the event of a false positive result, risks to patients could include the following: a recommendation for isolation of the patient…. unnecessary prescription of a treatment or therapy, or other unintended adverse effects.”
A CDC fact sheet also acknowledges the possibility of false positives with the PCR test.
Professor Heneghan believes the confusion around COVID-19 has come as a result of a shift away from “evidence-based medicine.” In a recent opinion piece published at The Spectator, Heneghan wrote that patients have become a “prisoner of a system labelling him or her as ‘positive’ when we are not sure what that label means.” He warns:
“Governments are producing a series of contradictory and confusing policies which have a brief shelf life as the next crisis emerges. It is increasingly clear the evidence is often ignored. Keeping up to date is a full time occupation.”
More evidence for the unreliability of PCR came on November 11, 2020, when the Lisbon Court of Appeal ruled that PCR ““in view of current scientific evidence, this test shows itself to be unable to determine beyond reasonable doubt that such positivity corresponds to the infection of a person by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
The decision relates to an appeal by the Regional Health Administration of the Azores,Portugal which forced four German citizens to comply with a 14 day quarantine in a hotel room. After the four citizens appealed the decision, the panel of judges concluded that “the number of cycles of such amplification results in a greater or lesser reliability of such tests. And the problem is that this reliability shows itself, in terms of scientific evidence (…) as more than debatable.”
The ruling was criticized by some scientists in Portugal and has been completely ignored by the United States media and politcians.
More recently, On December 3, 2020, the Florida Department of Health announced a new update requiring all laboratories conducting COVID-19 tests to record new details for the PCR test.
The update notes that all Florida “laboratories are subject to mandatory reporting to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH),” including for “PCR, other RNA, antigen and antibody results.” The update adds new requirements for the PCR test, asking labs to record the “cycle threshold” (CT) values for the process. The FDOH document states:
“Cycle threshold (CT) values and their reference ranges, as applicable, must be reported by laboratories to FDOH via electronic laboratory reporting or by fax immediately.”
On December 14, the World Health Organization (WHO) posted a notice on their website warning that PCR may not be entirely accurate for detecting SARS-CoV-2. The WHO memo admits that using too high of a cycle threshold will likely result in false positives.
“Users of RT-PCR reagents should read the IFU carefully to determine if manual adjustment of the PCR positivity threshold is necessary to account for any background noise which may lead to a specimen with a high cycle threshold (Ct) value result being interpreted as a positive result.”
“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.”
The fact that the Florida Department of Health and the WHO is taking this step is another sign that an increasing number of health professionals and regulators are questioning the accuracy of PCR. Unfortunately, both of these stories have been ignored by the mainstream media.
As noted earlier, this incredibly sensitive technique was developed by Berkeley scientist Kary Mullis, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1993. By the mid-90’s, Mullis had become skeptical that PCR was able to detect HIV and made several statements towards the end of his life indicating that he believed the technique was being improperly used by researchers.
As we approach 2021 the public is being told that a Dark Winter is waiting, with governments and media predicting a rise in cases and deaths. However, it’s important that we pause to acknowledge the many concerns surrounding the PCR test before international health authorities crash the economy, send millions into poverty, and threaten civil liberties. We must help the public understand the limitations of the PCR test and the dangers of resting public health policy on such a flawed process.
Finally, we must also hold accountable those who continue to promote PCR and refuse to answer these questions or even acknowledge these concerns. We cannot ignore the disastrous results produced by policymakers who failed to heed warnings about PCR.
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