An International Consortium of Scientists in Life Sciences (ICSLS) have submitted a retraction request to the European public health journal Eurosurveillance of a well-cited article published in January 2020,1 2 which contained the first protocol for detecting the SARS-CoV-2 virus using a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. The test has been used by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a guideline for other researchers.3
ICLS is requesting a formal retraction of the article.
The ICSLS retraction request, authored by 22 scientists with specialties in microbiology, virology, molecular genetics and molecular biology, immunology, pharmacology and other science fields, found “severe errors” in design and methodology of the RT-PCR which “render the SARS-CoV-2 PCR test useless.”4 The Eurosurveillance article has been cited over 800 times since publication.5
Quality of Peer Review Process Questioned
The paper, “Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR,” published by Victor Corman, lead researcher Christian Drosten and 22 other scientists, was received by Eurosurveillance on Jan. 21, 2020 and published online on January 23.
“Considering the severe errors in design and methodology of the RT-PCR test published by Eurosurveillance, this raises the concern whether the paper was subjected to peer-review at all,” write the authors of the retraction request.6 They further report that a request for the peer review report of the paper has not been provided on the grounds that “disclosure would undermine the purpose of scientific investigations.”7
Normally, the peer review process for publishing an article in a medical journal is a time-consuming process, since at least two experts from the field have to critically read and comment on the submitted paper. The scientists allege that the 24-hour peer review process for the RT-PCR test article in question was far too short to analyze its accuracy. “In our opinion, this paper was not peer-reviewed,” the retraction request charges, adding:
Twenty-four hours are simply not enough to carry out a thorough peer review. Our conclusion is supported by the fact that a tremendous number of very serious design flaws were found by us, which make the PCR test completely unsuitable as a diagnostic tool to identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Any molecular biologist familiar with RT-PCR design would have easily observed the grave errors present in the Corman-Drosten paper before the actual review process.8
In a written response, Eurosurveillance responded:
All articles published by the journal are peer-reviewed by at least two independent experts in the field (or at least one in the case of rapid communications). The article in question was also peer-reviewed by two experts on whose recommendation the decision to publish was made.9
Undisclosed Conflicts of Interest Revealed
Two authors of the Corman-Drosten paper, Christian Drosten and Chantal Reusken, are also members of the editorial board of Eurosurveillance. On July 29, 2020, two additional researcher’s conflicts of interest were added: Olfert Landt is CEO of TIB-Molbiol, and Marco Kaiser is senior researcher at GenExpress and serves as scientific advisor for TIB-Molbiol.
TIB-Molbiol was the first company to produce PCR kits based on the protocol published in the Corman-Drosten manuscript. Further, Corman and Drosten failed to mention their affiliation with the commercial test laboratory Labor Berlin, where they were responsible for virus diagnostics using PCR testing.10
Design and Methodological Errors Make PCR Test for SARS-CoV-2 Diagnosis “Useless”
The scientists requesting retraction of the paper identified numerous methodological and design errors in the Corman-Drosten paper, including eight which the authors claim make the PCR test unsuitable as a specific diagnostic tool to identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Because the test cannot discriminate between the whole virus and viral fragments, they state that the test cannot make inferences about the presence of an infection.
The scientists making the retraction request note that there is no mention anywhere in the Corman-Drosten paper of a test being positive or negative, or indeed what defines a positive or negative result. The authors write:
These types of virological diagnostic tests must be based on a SOP [Standard Operational Protocol] including a validated and fixed number of PCR cycles (cycle threshold or CT value) after which a sample is deemed positive or negative. The maximum reasonably reliable CT value is 30 cycles. Above a CT of 35 cycles, rapidly increasing numbers of false positives must be expected.
“These PCR products have not been validated at molecular level”
Further, they state that only non-infectious (dead) viruses are detected with CT values of 35. “It is a significant mistake that the Corman-Drosten paper does not mention the maximum CT value at which a sample can be unambiguously considered as a positive or a negative test-result,” the authors write.11
The authors add:
The fact that these PCR products have not been validated at molecular level is another striking error of the protocol, making any test based upon it useless as a specific diagnostic tool to identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Cycle Threshold of PCR Tests Too High
These scientists are not the first to question the use of the PCR test to determine whether someone is infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, or to question the cycle threshold used to determine a positive test result. Many U.S. labs use 35-45 cycles while many European labs work with 30 to 40 cycles.12
Any test with a cycle threshold above 35 is too sensitive, says Juliet Morrison, PhD, a virologist at the University of California, Riverside. “I’m shocked that people would think that 40 [cycles] could represent a positive.” A more reasonable cutoff would be 30 to 35, she added. Michael Mina, MD, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said he would set the figure at 30, or even less.13
PCR Test Flaws Increase False Positive Results
According to The New York Times, up to 90 percent of positive tests at a cycle threshold of 40 would be negative at a cycle threshold of 30.14
Another researcher15 demonstrated that if a person gets a “positive” PCR test result at a cycle threshold of 35 or higher the chance that the person is infectious is less than three percent. The chance that the person received a “false positive” result above 35 cycles is 97 percent or higher.
Why do labs use such high CT values? From a public health or lab perspective, some think it is safer to accept a “false positive” result that puts a healthy, non-infectious person into quarantine, than to produce a “false negative” result and be responsible if someone infects a vulnerable person.16
Millions of False Positive Results
The Corman-Drosten paper reported a false positive rate of 1.2 percent in their laboratory. In the U.S., with 178.1 million tests performed through Nov. 21, 2020, the ICSLS scientists note that, “this equates to falsely labeling at least 2.3 million people as ‘infected with COVID-19’ with all the ensuing consequences.”17 They worry that the results of these PCR tests, including their false positive results, will be used by governments to justify policy decisions that will not be based on accurate cost-benefit analysis.
Consequences of False Positive COVID-19 Test Results
Until recently, false negative PCR test results for the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been given priority due to the consequences of undetected cases in health care and social care settings, and the transmission of infection, especially by asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic persons.
However, the consequences of a false-positive COVID-19 test result are not benign.18 A positive test taken for screening before elective procedures or surgeries may result in unnecessary and risky treatment cancellation or postponement of needed medical treatment.
Other individual costs of a false positive COVID-19 test can include income losses due to self-isolation or cancelled travel, and psychological damage due to fear, isolation or stigmatization, including increased rates of depression and suicide. Globally, financial costs include misspent funding and human resources for testing and tracing, unnecessary testing, funding replacements in the workplace, business losses, and loss of future opportunities for the youngest generations.19
The World Bank has stated that due to the pandemic measures, 88-115 million people will be forced into extreme poverty in 2020 with the total rising to 150 million by 2021.20 Other societal costs include misdirection of policies regarding lockdowns and school closures and loss of autonomy and violation of human rights.
PCR Test Central to Pandemic Response
On Mar. 16, 2020, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, “We have a simple message to all countries—test, test, test.” Without testing, cases cannot be isolated and the chain of infection will not be broken, he said.21 As of Dec. 11, 2020 approximately 920 million SARS-CoV-2 tests have been performed worldwide.22 In the United States, the PCR test is used to screen people prior surgery or other health care procedures,23 and a PCR test has become a prerequisite for students at universities, colleges, boarding schools, camps and sports programs, or to attend gatherings or meetings.
Scientific Integrity On the Line
The ICSLS scientists conclude:
In light of our re-examination of the test protocol to identify SARS-CoV-2 described in the Corman-Drosten paper we have identified concerning errors. How can the continuing use of the test protocol be justified after these findings? Furthermore, with knowledge of the misuse and misinterpretation of test results on a global arena, should we not be mindful of this test’s contribution to these terrifying consequences?
The decision as to which test protocols are published and made widely available now lies in the hands of the editors and publisher of Eurosurveillance. Retraction Watch, a blog that reports on retractions of scientific papers under the parent organization Center for Scientific Integrity, reports 39 scientific articles related to COVID-19 have been retracted in 2020. Eurosurveillance is a non-profit journal published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
The scientific community will be watching to see how the Eurosurveillance editorial board handles this retraction request of an article authored by two members of its own board.
Click here to view References:
1 Marcus A. Public health journal “seeking further expert advice” on January paper about COVID-19 PCR testing by high-profile virologist. Retraction Watch Dec. 7, 2020.
2 Borger P, et al. Retraction request letter to Eurosurveillance editorial board. Corman-Drosten Review Report Nov. 28, 2020.
3 FAQs on SARS-CoV-2. Charité
4 Borger P, et al. Review report Corman-Drosten et al. Eurosurveillance 2020. Corman-Drosten Review Report Nov. 27, 2020.
5 See Footnote 1.
6 See Footnote 2.
7 See Footnote 4.
9 See Footnote 1.
10 See Footnote 4.
12 The Trouble With PCR Tests. Swiss Policy Research Oct. 4, 2020.
13 Mandavilli A. Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive. Maybe It Shouldn’t Be. The New York Times Sept. 17, 2020.
14 See Footnote 12.
15 Jaafar R, et al. Correlation Between 3790 Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction–Positives Samples and Positive Cell Cultures, Including 1941 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Isolates. Clinical Infectious Diseases Sept. 28, 2020.
16 See Footnote 12.
17 Steen H, Hameed S. The consequences of false positives. Corman-Drosten Review Report.
18 Surkova E, et al. False-positive COVID-19 results: hidden problems and costs. The Lancet Sept. 29, 2020.
19 See Footnote 4.
20 Press release. COVID-19 to Add as Many as 150 Million Extreme Poor by 2021. World Bank Oct. 7, 2020.
21 Farge E , Revill J. ‘Test, test, test’: WHO chief’s coronavirus message to world. Reuters Mar. 16, 2020.
22 de Best R. Coronavirus (COVID-19) death rate in countries with confirmed deaths and over 1,000 reported cases as of December 15, 2020, by country. Statista Dec. 15, 2020.
23 Preoperative COVID Testing: Examples from Around the U.S. Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation Nov. 11, 2020.
Excellent info. How can it be that if about 2.3% of those diagnosed or tested positive with Covid are dying (in the US), not one of the over 70,000 trial participants (Pfizer and Moderna), being vaccinated or not, died from Covid contact? Surely at least a few in the placebo group should have gotten sick and passed on if these trials were truly correlated to a sample of the entire population.
Also read an incredible Cpr test related article from (GreenMedInfo). In previous 6 known coronaviruses, the Cpr tests could never be fully validated due to similar aspects as questioned in this article. Basically, no validity at the molecular lever and no valid purification. Essentially, not one of these viruses could be isolated.
The inventor of this test (Kerry Mullis) has stated that is it not for use in identifying Covid viruses…unfortunately, he passed on just over a year ago. In any event, it is highly suspect and it makes me wonder if this test was used during the vaccine trials. That might have caused the data to be supremely tainted.
Tom this is excellent 🙂
Our general population is not represented in clinical trials. Study authors acknowledge that they exclude certain people/conditions from participation:
Other infections, to name a few.
How do we test “safety and efficacy” of a vaccine when we don’t include the very type of people (with known conditions) that will be asked to take the vaccine?
From what I’ve heard, elderly people should be on your list too, Dr. Cleveland.
Joshua, this too is an excellent comment 🙂
So, a “false positive” is preferable to a “false negative”. I thought that “science is real”, and we will “listen to science “. I guess the problem is not with the science itself, but with those who “interpret” the science.
If they haven’t isolated the virus to ID it, how can they test for it?
Exactly my point, too.
Furthermore, has this ConJob’s very “existence” been proven?
If they haven’t IDed the virus how can they perform a positive test to identify it?
To amplify the above point about doc Kary Mullis, who invented the PCR test and then 10 years later won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry FOR it; he had indeed warned in the HIV=AIDS hoax days, the PCR test was NOT being used properly. If the test found a bit of antibodies/virus/needle-in-the-hay-stack, it meant you had been exposed AND your immune system had beat it. It did NOT mean you have the disease.
_ USA has 1/4 of SARS-2 cases, worldwide; 1/5 of deaths, worldwide??? If so, what’s different, here in these united STATES of America? More unmarked GM/GO food, well…? more wreckreation & fashion, well…? more commie comedians hosting late-night TV, well…? more this or less that and so on, well….?
_ Rather, USA DRUGS THEIR PEOPLE/KIDS with MORE INDUSTRIAL VACCINES/DOSES THAN ANYWHERE ON EARTH. Dozens of hardly-tested drugs.
_ Are there any scientists left outside the paid-off government alphabet bureaucrat ‘Agencies’? The FDA/CDC voted in 2012 to utilize human-baby fetal tissues (sometimes aborted, and/or sometimes cancerous) in vaccines. It’s right on vaccine package inserts. Isn’t that cannibalistic, like ‘prion’ TSE, like Kuru?? And in 2013 insider whistleblowers probed they’d known since circa-2000 vaccines caused autism. THAT’s been endlessly censored.
BUT THE RUSH IS TO PROFITS, NOT HEALTH & SAFETY. FDA NOTED THAT!!—it’s their intent. (Go read R.F. Kennedy Jr.’s “Children’s Health Defense” site articles!!)
_ EIGHT of the last 10 FDA Commissioners quit, to work directly for Big Pig Pharma co’s (as did a previous CDC Director, Julie Gerberding).
_ YOU are NOT “Represented”!!
_ Tons of docs, nurses, parents, et al., made films, circa 2016-17, about various vaccine problems& the truths. The mainstream media, Google, FaceBOOT, et al., and “our” own government have covered up everything, attacking those who tell the true science (as NVIC well knows).
_ These vaccines should only be tested on gov workers, first. Then CEOs and salesmen. And wait until Pfizer’s freezes someone’s arm. How long until we know nobody is getting SARS-2, anymore? Efficrapcy.
Scientists and medical doctors have to arise and defend humanity against this unprecedented assault.
Their integrity and credibility are on the line .
Sadly, many are in the Back Pockets of Big Pharma, not to mention The B&M Foundation’s Bank Roll.
Suggest additional reading for those interested in digging deeper: The Contagion Myth. Well, researched and very eye-opening. It would seem that what we’re really dealing with here is more akin to religion than science.
I was surprised how much I liked and how much I learned from Contagion Myth (2020). I already knew Tom’s and Sally’s platforms well. The book goes further than either’s videos. Synergy? Good editors perhaps? I think the most useful book of 2020 for Cultural Creatives.
It is frightening that legislators, businesses, and the public in general are making decisions based on such flawed information. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21)
Here is an interview I gave that explains the situation. It has English subtitles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flsF7trvq2c
It’s time we hold our leaders responsible. To do that unfortunately lawsuits are needed to hold them accountable.
All restaurant owners who had to shut down and lose their business should form a coalition and sue the governors for damages. Give them an option pay the millions in damages or resign your post never to hold office again.
I feel this fits nicely into the political narrative to take us fully into socialism. With the death counter on CNN, people are becoming more and more fearful. I see it here in my state, instead of getting rid of the masks, more and more people are wearing them outdoors. It’s becoming the norm and those people are afraid of the non mask wearers. We are moving backwards and it’s mostly due to these test results.
And a general mistrust of news and disseminated Fauci/government information.
I think we have pseudo-science masquerading as science being trumpeted out by the mainstream media, creating hysteria. Combine this PCR test folly with dying “with Covid” equals dying “of Covid”, and you have a recipe for the insanity and confusion we are seeing now.
It seems to me as a lay person, Dr Fauci and his previous experience with HIV made him more than aware of the fact the PCR If cycled up would find dead virus particles which could easily be used to announce multiple ‘positives ‘this allowed Fauci and associated goverments to perpetuate fear,,let’s not suggest anything other than the fact the PCR test is doing exactly what they was t it to do !
Please read this ! A few months back the UK gov trialed the new lateral flow test in Liverpool UK,,the results were fantastic,,only 3 positives in a 1000 people!!Did they ring the church bells and have the BBC announce,,were saved ! NO!! This success was hushed down and a few weeks later an article in the Telegraph newspaper stated ” Government health experts have removed the lateral flow test with immediate effect sinceri it did not find as many positives as the PCR test !!! Evil personified,,,I hope the doctors involved in this injunction use the conflict of interest in a pincer movement including the irrefutable science !! I will be watching !!
Other stats I would like to know: how many positives develop symptoms? I think this is well over 10%, but that figure would be illuminating, and those stats should be available. And how many with symptoms end up hospitalized? And how many clearly symptomatic of Covid-19 die? (those figures are well obscured by the CDC ordered changes in completing death certificates, made this last March).
I don’t think socialism is the risk here, it is more like a fascism/autocracy driven by a false medical narrative. And the capitalists will continue to thrive. May it not be so.
From the very beginning there was no science here. The numbers blatantly misrepresented the damage by a “cold virus”, even one gone berserk and the “tests” were a sham. The “News Media” did the Gates’ Foundation bidding by spreading the hysteria far and wide. In Asia, of course they dealt with it in their own way… and made short shrift of it…not because of “masking” or “lockdowns” which were short lived and primarily instituted to clear the air over Wuhan and other hideously polluted cities…. but by using ancient Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture which effectively wiped out the “pandemic’ within a month or so and now if anyone gets it, inexpensive over the counter herbal medicines knock it down well before it can reach a dangerous stage. Likewise for those who are hospitalized herbal formulas like what the Chinese used for SARS Cov 1 years ago and “Bird Flu” etc are used very effectively while we in the West twist in the wind helpless like the “Hanged Man” unable to escape the stupidity and cupidity of our government and corporate medicine.. oh and this is the opposite of “socialism”, it is fascism… the take over of our government by a Plutocracy headed by Bill Gates and Karl Schwab…two out of control corporate Capitalists who pay off all those that they need and destroy those who refuse to go along. The Gates Foundation spent $500 MILLION to PUSH LOCKDOWN… everyone who is “anyone” has their hand in Bill’s pockets….and THEY PERFORMED JUST AS EXPECTED! Dancing to Bill’s tune and watching their bank accounts swell …. of course $500 Million was “Chump Change” for the “Great Philanthropist” Gates who has invested BILLIONS in vaccine development over the last 10 to 20 years.. the PERFECT SCAM! Profit with NO LIABILITY!
James – “It’s time we hold our leaders responsible. To do that unfortunately lawsuits are needed to hold them accountable.” – YES!
It’s in the works it seems.
So, here in the U.K. we now have a ‘new variant’ of the virus, ( and this afternoon a P.M./ Prof Whitty/ Prof Vallance televised Downing Street appearance urging/ordering ever more restrictions on our liberties) presumably detected by the RT-PCR? Is it too naughty of me to think perhaps our controllers/ advisers have had a veiwing of Patrick’s interveiw in Holland yesterday ( which, by the way, gave me back my will-to-live!) and with the oops-we’ve- been -duped-can’t-backtrack-now state of play these people are on a mission to ‘save their skins’?
So the “powers that be” can end or perpetuate this pandemic simply be raising or lowering the ct cycles in the test.
On 24Dec20, I became aware that our covid sample reference laboratory runs their PCR instrument at a CT-value of 42. That equals an amplification of 2 trillion 200 billion times the original sample. I have informed my medical colleagues about this stunning revelation, and all I hear thus far is crickets chirping.
QUE PODRIA DECIR. NO VOY A ADMINISTRARME NINGUNA VACUNA. SON EXTREMADAMENTE PELIGROSAS Y NO SE HA PROBADO QUE LOGREN INMUNIDAD. POR OTRO LADO LOS EFECTOS ADVERSOS, NO TIENEN PORQUE SER INMEDIATOS.