I was recently inspired to reach out to my department of health to figure out the manufacturer(s) of the PCR Tests being used here in Virginia to determine a positive case of COVID-19. I’ve suspected all along that the incredibly numerous “cycles” required to determine positivity means we are magnifying and magnifying and magnifying so much that we’re calling tiny little mRNA/viral fragments VIRUS!!!!! and causing people to panic unnecessarily. Ironically, the ridiculously high false positive rate means we have a corresponding high “survival” rate but good news is not news, so…
Dena Potter, the Director of Communications for the Virginia Department of General Services, sent me three photocopied pages, presumably from the package inserts, from the 3 PCR Tests Virginia’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) is using.
After thanking her profusely for providing exactly the information I was requesting, I sent the following response:
From a laymen’s perspective, it appears two tests allow up to 40 cycles, and one up to 37 cycles, to determine a positive result.
I have a limited understanding of virology, to be sure, yet I have suspected all year that the high amplification of mRNA fragments might be resulting in an enormous number of false positives, which could be used to strengthen the erroneous “asymptomatic spreader” theory, and completely distorts the public understanding of the risks associated with SARS-COV2.
I recently came across an article in the New York Times (published in August) discussing PCR Cycle Thresholds. In the article, Dr. Mina suggests cutting off the CT at 30 cycles. In fact, “The CDC’s own calculations suggest that it is extremely difficult to detect any live virus in a sample above a threshold of 33 cycles.” Yet it seems we are going with either 37 or 40 cycles here in Virginia, and as a result, we are seeing a high “positivity” rate.
Here’s what I recently received from VDH:
“The Virginia Department of Health does not have information about Ct values because laboratories are not required to report these to the agency. The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) has published an informative handout about Ct values, nucleic acid amplification testing, and how Ct values can be used. This may provide additional information that might be helpful. The document can be found at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1607/APHL-Ct-Values-PDF “
Ron Desantis, in Florida, has taken action on behalf of his constituents and is now requiring labs to report their CT with every COVID PCR test.
When will Virginia’s Department of Health stand up for us? The never-ending panic over COVID-19 has been spurred on by a “spikes in cases” despite the fact that we are seeing false positives due to the extreme magnification of viral fragments.
Who should I follow up with with questions about the standards for determining a positive case in Virginia? What can we do? Who should I talk to next?