WHO Issues New Guidance for Determining PCR Test Results

WHO Issues New Guidance for Determining PCR Test Results

There is a scene in the 1982 movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, in which Captain Kirk is asked by Lieutenant Saavik, “The Kobyashi Maru, sir. … On the test, sir, will you tell me what you did? I’d really like to know.” Dr. McCoy interjects: “Lieutenant, you are looking at the only Star Fleet cadet to ever beat the no-win scenario.” Saavik: “How?” Kirk: “I reprogrammed the simulation so it was possible to rescue the ship.” Saavik: “What?”1 2 3

At that point, Kirk’s son, Dr. David Marcus, grins in disbelief and says, “He cheated.”1 Kirk responds…

I changed the conditions of the test. I got a commendation for original thinking. I don’t like to lose.1

On Jan. 13, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a new guidance on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nasal swab test commonly used to detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in people. The WHO guidance states that “careful interpretation of weak positive results” of each PCR test given is needed, given that the cycle threshold (CT) “needed to detect the virus is inversely proportional to the patient’s viral load.”4 5 6

In other words, the greater amount of the virus (viral load) a person has in their body the lower the CT needs to be set at to detect the presence of the virus. The lower amount of the virus in a person the higher the CT needs to be to detect the presence of the virus. The CT refers to the number of times a sample is amplified by a PCR machine, or thermocycler, to get a result. The CT levels at which many manufacturers of thermocyclers recommend they be set at is under 40.6 7 8 9

Some scientists, such as virologist Juliet Morrison, PhD of the University of California, Riverside, believe any CT over 35 is too sensitive. “I’m shocked that people would think that 40 [cycles] could represent a positive,” said Dr. Morrison, who thinks a more reasonable CT cutoff would be 30 to 35.7 10 An article in The New York Times noted, “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.”11

The WHO guidance adds:

Where test results do not correspond with the clinical presentation, it recommends that a new specimen should be taken and retested using the same or different NAT technology.4 5

PCR Test Results Only One Fact to Consider in Diagnosing Coronavirus

The WHO also cautions health care providers not to rely only on the results of a PCR test to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but to “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.” In other words, just because a PCR test comes back positive for SARS-CoV-2 should not be the sole consideration for determining if someone has the virus. That determination, according to the WHO, should be based on an analysis of a broader range of factors. The WHO describes PCR test results as an “aid for diagnosis,” which suggests they are not the only piece of evidence that should be used to diagnose COVID-19.4 5

With its new guidance, reportedly the WHO is simply attempting to remind those who administer and evaluate the results of PCR tests to “use tests with the proper instructions to ensure accurate results.”12 Apparently, the WHO had received 10 reports of problems related to PCR tests. According to Reuters:

The WHO confirmed after investigating that the tests were not being used in compliance with instructions provided by the manufacturers. Laboratories faced problems when they did not apply the recommended “positivity threshold,” which can result in false negative or false positive results.12

The extent of the improper use of PCR tests by laboratories is unclear. There are questions, such as: Were many laboratories, for example, consistently running PCR tests at higher CTs than recommended by the thermocycler manufacturers? Virologist Ian M. Mackay, PhD of the University of Queensland in Australia says that laboratory technicians run PCR tests at 40 to 50 CTs.12 Another question: were many laboratories solely using PCR test results to determine whether or not someone is deemed to be a positive coronavirus case, rather than considering the broader approach spelled out in the WHO”s guidance?

All the WHO guidance suggests is that there was a problem with the way some laboratories were using PCR tests prior to Jan. 13 and that the guidance was part of an effort to address and correct it. There is no way to know how serious or widespread the problem was with PCR testing for COVID-19 cases yielding inaccurate COVID-19 test results.

Coronavirus Cases Start to Decline Sharply in U.S. and Around the World

What is interesting is that within days of WHO guidance being issued, the number of new coronavirus cases reported in the United States began to markedly decline. The New York Times reported on Jan. 22 that, “In recent days, coronavirus cases have been dropping steadily across the United States.”14 The newspaper stated on Feb, 17 that 70,176 new coronavirus cases were reported in the U.S. and, on Feb. 18, said, “Over the past week, there has been an average of 77,665 cases per day, a decrease of 43 percent from the average two weeks earlier.”13

On Feb. 1, the WHO announced at a press conference that coronavirus cases were dropping around the world.15 WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said:

For the third week in a row, the number of new cases of COVID-19 reported globally fell last week. There are still many countries with increasing numbers of cases, but at the global level, this is encouraging news.15

On Feb. 10, CNN reported that the WHO announced there had been a 17 percent decline from the previous week in the number of the coronavirus cases and the lowest number of cases since the week of Oct. 26, 2020.16

On Feb. 15, NBC News reported that, in the previous two weeks coronavirus cases had declined to “varying degrees in all 50 states, as well as in Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, and added:

Ten states and Puerto Rico saw a slight decrease between 10 and 25 percent. Forty states, plus the district and the Northern Mariana Islands, experienced a more significant decrease of 25 percent or more.17

On Feb. 17, The Atlantic published an article titled “COVID-19 Cases Are Dropping Fast. Why?”18 Staff writer Derek Thompson, offered four reasons for the rather sudden downward trend…

  1. Behavior: Maybe Americans finally got the hang of this mask and social-distancing thing.
  2. Seasonality: The coronavirus was perhaps destined to decline this time of year.
  3. Partial immunity: Is the virus running out of bodies?
  4. Vaccines: The shots work.

But worldwide, simultaneously?

In an interview CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on Feb. 14, former CDC director Tom Frieden, MD said:

I don’t think the vaccine is having much of an impact at all on case rates. It’s what we’re doing right: staying apart, wearing masks, not traveling, not mixing with others indoors.18

I wonder. Might there not be something else at play here?


If you would like to receive an e-mail notice of the most recent articles published in The Vaccine Reaction each week, click here.

Click here to view References:

1 kurtangleukreborn. Star Trek: Awesome Kirk Moments “I Don’t Like To Lose!” YouTube Mar. 15, 2012.
2 These Are The Voyages. Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan – The Kobayashi Maru. YouTube Sept. 28, 2016.
3 ascentaur. Kobyashi Maru. YouTube Jan. 8, 2013.
4 World Health Organization. WHO Information Notice for IVD Users 2020/05. Jan. 20, 2021.
5 HospiMedica International staff writers. WHO Changes SARS-CoV-2 Virus Test Criteria to Reduce False Positives. HospiMedica Jan. 25, 2021.
6 Nicholson T, Bhattacharya J. Appropriate use of PCR needed for a focused response to the pandemic. The Hill Jan. 29, 2021.
7 Cáceres B. Coronavirus Cases Plummet When PCR Tests Are Adjusted. The Vaccine Reaction Sept. 29, 2020.
8 Cáceres B. PCR Test for Coronavirus Questioned by Prominent Scientists. The Vaccine Reaction Dec. 16, 2020.
9 Excedr. What Is A PCR Machine? July 23, 2020.
10 SARS CoV2 Molecular Assay Evaluation: ResultsFINDDX July 3, 2020.
11 Mandavilli A. Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive. Maybe It Shouldn’t Be. The New York Times Jan. 19, 2021.
12 Reuters Staff. Fact check: WHO released guidance on proper use of tests; it did not admit PCR tests showed inflated infection numbers. Reuters Feb. 4, 2021.
13 The New York Times. Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count. Feb. 18, 2021.
14 Bosman J, McNeil DJ. U.S. Coronavirus Cases Are Falling, but Variants Could Erase Progress. The New York Times Jan. 22, 2021.
15 Smith-Schoenwalder C. WHO: Decline in Global Coronavirus Cases Shows Variants Can Be Controlled. U.S. News & World Report Feb. 1, 2021.
16 Diaz A, Smith-Spark L. Global Covid-19 cases declined 17% worldwide last week, WHO says. CNN Feb. 10, 2021.
17 Arkin D, Sheeley C. Coronavirus cases decline across U.S., but experts urge caution. NBC News Feb. 15, 2021.
18 Assunção M. New COVID cases, hospitalizations decline for fifth consecutive week in U.S. New York Daily News Feb. 16, 2021.

Note: This commentary provides referenced information and perspective on a topic related to vaccine science, policy, law or ethics being discussed in public forums and by U.S. lawmakers.  The websites of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provide information and perspective of federal agencies responsible for vaccine research, development, regulation and policymaking.

...

27 Responses to "WHO Issues New Guidance for Determining PCR Test Results"

  1. J Pennings   February 22, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    Perhaps Bill Gates has made his money?

    Reply
  2. Kathie H Laughman   February 22, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    I saw a report where someone sent samples of various things in to see how they came back including motor oil and and even sheep blood. The sheep tested positive and I guess I’m wondering, can one sheep can give herd immunity? Anyone?

    Reply
  3. Alison Murphy   February 22, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    I would like to share this wonderful article, however errors need correction in paragraph four, second sentence? “The lower amount of the virus in a person the ?lower? the CT need(s) to be to detect the presence of the virus.” Should read “The lower amount of the virus in a person the higher the CT needs to be to detect the presence of the virus.” Please let me know when it’s fixed, so I can share away!

    Reply
    • Marco Caceres   February 22, 2021 at 3:58 pm

      Thank you for catching that error. It has now been corrected.

      Editor

      Reply
  4. AC, Oregon   February 22, 2021 at 3:07 pm

    Given the known problems–known for decades– with using PCR for diagnosis, the public health field should know better than to rely solely on the PCR. It even says right on the lab instructions for using PCR tests that they are not sufficient for diagnosis, and additional testing or confirmation by active symptoms are required for a positive case.

    PCR tests are fast, but not so accurate. Lab cultures of patient samples are slow, but much more accurate. Haste makes waste. Random sample cultures should be regularly used on a small % of cases to crosscheck PCR result accuracy.

    Here are two peer-reviewed papers which compared the results from PCR vs. lab cultures, and both of them concluded that the optimum CT was not 40-45 as WHO/Drosten recommended and was adopted world-wide early in the pandemic, but a CT of 13 to 17 produced optimum results, and as the CT rose from there, the quality of results steadily decreased.

    If the CT was reduced to 17, turnaround time for tests would be quicker, and accurate portable tests might be possible. Most important, the false positives produced by using CT’s over 35 would be dramatically reduced–and we would have much sounder public health policy as a result–since so many public health studies and policies ultimately rely on the results of unreliable PCR tests.

    Those papers:

    Viral RNA load as determined by cell culture as a management tool for discharge of SARS-CoV-2 patients from infectious disease wards by La Scola et al, 27 April 2020. NOTE: See esp. figure 1.

    Duration of infectiousness and correlation with RT-PCR cycle threshold values in cases of COVID-19, England, January to May 2020, Singanayagam et al, 13 August 2020. NOTE: Again, see the figures.

    A CT of 17 was also recommended in the landmark pandemic response review by researcher James DeMeo, PhD: A Critical Review of CDC USA Data on Covid-19: PCR/Antigen Tests & Cases Reveal Herd Immunity Only, and Do Not Warrant Public Hysteria or Lockdowns.

    Reply
  5. J.Pennings   February 22, 2021 at 3:09 pm

    Bill, largest contributor to the WHO, got his money and Biden got in.

    Reply
  6. Bj   February 22, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    Please tell me what is the new ‘recommended ‘ cycle for PCR testing.

    I can’t find it anywhere on a Google search It’s been revised, obviously, but how many CTS are now being used?

    The reduction in Cycles is the reason that the number of official “cases”has dropped?

    Thanks

    Reply
  7. Alison Murphy   February 22, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    Two more corrections:

    “Some scientists such as virologist Juliet Morrison, PhD of the University of California, Riverside believes any CT over 35 is too sensitive.” Some scientists believe, Juliet Morrison believes- an extra comma and changing believes to believe would fix this.

    “Apparently, the WHO had received 1o reports of problems related to PCR tests. According to Reuters:” How many reports? I want to know!

    Thank you so much for the multitude of footnotes and references. A well researched presentation. Love the Star Trek reference. 🙂

    Reply
    • Marco Caceres   February 22, 2021 at 3:59 pm

      Corrected. Thank you!

      Editor

      Reply
  8. R Cannon   February 22, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    I have not seen any change in behavior on mask wearing. If anything it has gotten worse. And given that “cases” is the widely reported statistic, the ability to manipulate the number is probably the reason. This motivates people to get the vaccine, the ultimate goal. And hospitalization and death numbers are also muddy because they include ‘Covid-like” illnesses without confirmation. Or maybe they run a PCR test until they get confirmation. I’ve heard of people getting tested multiple times with both negative and positive results. Hospitals make much more money if it is a Covid case. The book Corona – False Alarm? Facts and Figures goes into all the poor decision making and deceptive data. Not to mention the suppression of early treatments that greatly reduce severity. This is fraud on a worldwide basis.

    Reply
  9. Anna Schrock   February 22, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    THANK YOU!!!

    Reply
  10. Greg Cantin   February 22, 2021 at 4:01 pm

    I could be wrong, but this sentence is backwards: “The lower amount of the virus in a person the lower the CT need to be to detect the presence of the virus.”

    Reply
    • AC, Oregon   February 23, 2021 at 1:01 am

      I agree, looks like a typo. The less virus, the larger the CT would be needed to detect the presence, which is how the high CT tends to create something out of nothing.

      Reply
  11. Zuto   February 22, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    All public health agencies/experts/journals anywhere in the world should be forbidden from making any statements regarding “cases” of COVID or SARS-CoV-2, increases or decreases in “cases.” or anything whatsoever about COVID/SARS-CoV2 until they adopt REAL scientific protocols by standardizing their definition of what constitutes a “case,” and what specific parameters are measured by what methodology and what the result of a positive test really means.

    To date, the flurries of testing are not standardized and the “goal posts” in the insane game of pandemic are moved regularly to help support whatever agenda the public health “experts” are pushing on any given day.

    Often the excuse for adjusting parameters is, “this is new territory and we need to modify our protocols as we learn more. It is a fluid situation.”

    It’s a load of statistical manipulation parading as “science.” If data need to be cherry picked, modified, excluded or otherwise massaged to fit the theory, it is not scientific practice.

    If anyone is going to pontificate about “following the science” then they need to actually know how to do science and practice it.

    Right now the entire globe (except, perhaps Sweden) has been beaten into submission based on RT-PCR testing, which is not appropriate for diagnosing the viral infection that is supposedly threatening the world. This continued use of a bogus yardstick for measurement is a massive WASTE OF RESOURCES, not to mention the biggest CON JOB ever sprung on such a huge number of people.

    Why is this being allowed? Demand real science. Consult with REAL scientists. Anthony Fauci is a politician parading as a scientist. Defund him and his agents. Retire him. Prosecute him for crimes against humanity. Seize his assets. He’s not a sweet little grandpa. He is a liar and an opportunist. He’s been trying to launch pandemics for decades. He has far exceeded his 15 minutes of fame. Hire somebody competent, and someone who is not invested in keeping the pandemic running. Clean the garbage out of NIH, CDC, NIAID and the rest of the public health alphabet agencies. Throw out the tenured crooks who have been running the show for too long.

    If you let all those new “variants” start new shutdowns, where will it end? They already have the next level of terror planned. Don’t wait for it. Shut down the whole pandemic plan. There is no need to bankrupt the entire world based on the abuse of RT-PCR.

    Start saying NO.

    Reply
  12. C Davis   February 22, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    Oh yes. What’s at play here is that cases increased right before the election, and decreased suddenly right after the “inauguration.” No mystery here, we all know why. And no, it’s not about mask wearing or social distancing, its all about politics. Period. Masks do nothing and the vaccine has no proof that it does anything either.

    Reply
  13. April   February 22, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    There has not been a case of Covid 19 found for vitamin D level over 50. That shouldn’t surprise anyone who understand this. Fewer people are wearing masks, social distancing, etc. Yet many states have never changed lockdown criteria at all. Fact: covids and respiratory virus generally needs to reach 20% for herd immunity. Not 80, Twenty. Yes. This virus was gone last spring. We are calling dead viral particles from ANY Covid, Covid 19, labeling influenza a Covid 19, and generally diagnosing anyone who walks in with a single “symptom.” I have never believed this was anything but a scam and I have multiple nurse jobs and have worked in two states since March 2020 at the time I had my four day SARS Cov2 illness prior to lockdown that would literally have never been anything I noticed if I hadn’t been told it was out there and others (patients) tested positive in my state that was hit first… well… so the story goes anyway.
    Scamdemic.
    -RN

    Reply
  14. Trago   February 22, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    A great deceptive practice……just lower the standard to change the outcome and interpret the results to favor your perspective.

    Reply
  15. Joyce   February 22, 2021 at 5:48 pm

    It is interesting to note that the announcement from the WHO was dated January 13 and posted on January 20.

    Reply
  16. Jenny   February 22, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    Quote: An article in The New York Times noted, “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”

    The articles about virology I’ve read say that viruses are not living things. And, 33 cycles, the number 33 seems to pop up a lot. I saw some interesting video compilations of all these various news people on tv all saying’ 33 people died’, and they were all in different cities and towns all over the world. They weren’t reporting on the same story.

    Reply
  17. Tom   February 22, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    Changing the setting of CT (cycles) according to viral load is extremely misleading. It still means you will always get some RNA/DNA fragments that may or may not be Covid. And just as many false positives. This is beyond stupid. The PCr test is not the test that they should be using because there are no set standards or no way to determine live particles from dead particles. As with everything else covid related, it is all guesswork and full of confusing and conflicting info designed to create fear and fear only. WHO is complicit in the corruption, controlled by Dr. Gates and the pharma industry. Do not trust them…EVER!

    Reply
  18. Stephen Billiter   February 22, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    The WHO are criminal liars–PCR cannot detect viral load in anyone–it is not a diagnostic test, which says so on the package insert. What is does do is pick up infection but cannot tell what it’s from at all. Sometimes it just picks up and old molecule of infection from years ago and they call it “positive” for Covid-19.

    There are no cases and no deaths at all worldwide for Covid-19 because PCR cannot diagnose anything says the inventor Kary Mullis:

    https://brandnewtube.com/watch/the-most-damning-piece-of-evidence-regarding-the-pcr-test-from-the-inventor-himself-kary-mullis_v1CK5ySOqyuDwrx.html

    PCR tests need tp stop immediately and when it does the scam stops too. Kary Mullis died in August of 2019 which tells us something very revealing about this hoax.

    Reply
  19. StubidBeoch   February 23, 2021 at 4:08 am

    Reduce cycles on the PCR test reduces Covid case numbers. If the Sheep need a good dose of fear and are not lining up to get the Moderna “Operating System” injection, simply raise the cycles on the PCR test and voila, Covid cases increase and the sheep stand in line to take the kill shot.

    Reply
  20. Doc Dave   February 23, 2021 at 5:52 am

    In response to AC ,Oregan above. Thank you for those references and I entirely concur with your point. I would just like to remind people to be careful using the term “culture” even in the context of supporting one’s argument against PCR. The term culture should be reserved for the successful isolation and growth of a pure sample of a pathogen and this has not been possible in any lab around the world for Sars CoV2. What most labs and studies are referring to when they imply “culture” is the incubation of cells with a sample and observing damage consistent with a virus (which may or may NOT be Sars CoV2) and/or various immunoassays. Why there has been no successful culture of Sras Cov2 is anyone’s guess. It does mean that we cannot actually have a gold standard to cross reference PCR and adds to the level of false positives PCR given there is no measure to check it that is truly acceptable.

    Reply
  21. Rose   February 23, 2021 at 11:30 am

    The original recommendation was actually issued on December 14 but was removed. This recommendation stated symptom presentation should be included in making a Covid 19 diagnosis, thus rendering their ‘asymptomatic transmission’ theory null and void. It is archived on the way back machine, might want to edit the article to include it:

    “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”

    What a WILD idea, including symptoms as a component of disease diagnosis. Why, it could revolutionize medicine (hard eye roll)

    https://principia-scientific.com/who-finally-admits-covid19-pcr-test-has-a-problem/

    https://web.archive.org/web/20201215013928/https://www.who.int/news/item/14-12-2020-who-information-notice-for-ivd-users

    Reply
  22. Arby   February 24, 2021 at 10:28 am

    What’s at play here is a huge, harmful, criminal hoax perpetrated by those who seek to continue their rule over humankind but without the hindrances of the pretense of democracy and without the annoyance of protesters and people using free speech to annoy those with power and privilege. As Jeffrey A. Tucker notes, we are entering into a new feudalism. We are to be enslaved, but not to worry. As Klaus Schwab tells us, ‘We will be happy’.

    This is the new feudalism aka the Great Rest aka the global biosecurity police State aka the new world order. This is what happens when monsters run the world. They are playing God, uncaringinly, recklessly, faithlessly and very unwisely, but they have no use for the true God’s standards of truth, love, justice, mercy and compassion. They just like godlike power. By their perversity and cruelty, they daily call to the true God to “Bring it!” He doesn’t jump when they say jump. It’s his plan to ‘bring it’ and he has his timetable. When he does bring it, and that time has arrived (and a number of things have converged at this point), it will be in full righteousness and justice, for he’s a God of love and has no intention of allowing this manmade (with demonic assistance) hell to go on for a minute longer than it has to. This toilet of a world is about to be destroyed and those who like it will be destroyed along with it.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Jenny Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.