A bombshell dropped this week – video surfaced of Dr Tony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), saying PCR tests that give a positive result at 35 cycles or more do NOT show a person is infected. He explains such test results are only detecting dead nucleotides, at most.
What is now sort of evolving into a bit of a standard, that if you get a cycle threshold of 35 or more that the chances of it being replication competent are minuscule […] but you never, you almost never can culture virus from a 37 threshold cycle, so I think if someone does come in with 37, 38, even 36, you gotta say you know, it’s just dead nucleotides, period.
Find the discussion at this link, or watch below, PCR discussion starts at 3 min 50 sec:
July 16, 2020, podcast, “This Week in Virology”
But what does this all mean?
Viruses in general consist of one or two strands of nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) and a protein coat or envelope. Nothing more. Viruses are not living, in the true sense—they have no cell processes of their own—but we talk about viruses being live or dead meaning they are capable or incapable of entering cells and being replicated by the mechanisms in the host cells. It’s rather like saying a robot is “live” when they are functional and “dead” if they are broken.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses and they contain RNA rather than DNA.
DNA and RNA
DNA and RNA are both polymers, that is, long chains of units known as nucleotides. The single strand of RNA in coronaviruses is around 30,000 nucleotides long.
There are 4 different nucleotides, and their order in DNA and RNA, or sequence, makes up the polymer’s code. In living cells DNA provides a template for manufacture of RNA, which in turn provides a template for making the proteins that cells need.
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology was invented to give researchers a way of duplicating small samples of DNA many times to make large samples, so they could be studied. PCR technology does this very successfully.
The first step in a Covid19 PCR test is to build DNA molecules based on the template provided by viral RNA in the patient’s sample, using an enzyme known as Reverse Transcriptase (the Covid19 PCR test is often called a RT-PCR test).
What are “cycles”?
Once DNA has been built from RNA in the test sample, it’s time to duplicate the DNA strand or strands many times.
Let’s say there is only one strand of RNA in a patient’s sample, and a single strand of DNA has been built from it.
The machine uses heat and reagents (pronounced re-agents) to multiply this DNA strand by two – this is the first cycle. The second cycle multiplies the two strands by two, making 4, the third cycle results in 8 strands, the fourth results in 16.
After 10 cycles we would have around 1,000 strands, after 20 cycles a million, 30 cycles a billion and after 40 cycles around 1,000 billion identical strands. So we can see PCR increases the amount of DNA dramatically, and there is a huge difference in the amount of DNA generated per cycle as the number of cycles increases.
How many cycles?
The PCR test machines look for particular nucleotide sequences in the sample. Otherwise it would be detecting all our own DNA and RNA in the sample. It’s important to note here that the sequences the machine looks for are fairly short, a tiny fraction of the whole sequence of 30,000 nucleotides in the Covid19 virus.
The marker strand used to achieve this has a fluorescent molecule attached, which grows brighter as more of the target sequence is detected. When this molecule lights up, the machine records the number of cycles undertaken, and this is known as the cycle threshold (Ct). The machine is set to stop cycling at a certain point, usually at 40 to 45 cycles.
If the machine detects target DNA after only a low number of cycles it means there were more target DNA strands in the sample to begin with, therefore more Covid19 RNA in the original sample. A high number of cycles means there is little or no target DNA in the sample.
So the BIG QUESTION is, how many cycles would need to be undertaken to detect there is enough DNA to show a person is infected and infectious, or rather just harbouring some old, broken “dead nucleotides” (to quote Fauci) in their body?
World-wide, including in Australia, we believe the machines give a positive result with up to 40 to 45 cycles, which is significantly higher than Fauci’s 35. This is an outrage.
Please see the following PCR instructions document from the US FDA:
CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel – Instructions for Use
When all controls exhibit the expected performance, a specimen is considered positive for 2019- nCoV if all 2019-nCoV marker (N1, N2) cycle threshold growth curves cross the threshold line within 40.00 cycles (< 40.00 Ct).
Guidance to labs from the Australian Government in this document does not state a cycle threshold for a positive result, but instead simply says:
Commercial assays often have in-built analysis systems to interpret the PCR result. To comply with TGA requirements, the laboratory must report the results according to the commercial manufacturer’s recommendations.
The document does also state that usually 35-45 cycles are undertaken, which implies Ct values of up to a whopping 45 cycles are accepted as a positive result. It would be criminal to restrict people’s movements on the basis of a positive test result determined by such a high number of cycles, or should we say, such a tiny amount of “dead” RNA.
Infected and infectious
A person infected with a virus would have millions of the virus particles in their body, and a sample taken from them would not need many cycles to give a positive result. These people could possibly infect others.
Meanwhile, if a sample needs a very high number of cycles to detect some target DNA, they would not have enough virus in them to say they are infected themselves or could infect other people. Also, as the machines are only looking for short sequences of nucleotides; there is not any way of knowing if viable virus is present or just fragments of RNA.
When people receive a positive PCR test result, they are not told how many cycles were needed to make that fluorescent molecule light up, so they have no way of really knowing whether or not they are infected and infectious.
Studies have taken samples examined with PCR tests, and attempted to culture virus from these samples in living cells, to see how the viability of virus in the samples compared to PCR test results. One of these studies found a positive PCR test was only accurate for up to 17 cycles, and another study found a positive result was at best only reasonably accurate on the third and fourth day after onset of symptoms, and otherwise had zero accuracy, which obviously includes samples from asymptomatic people.
Click the image below to watch a discussion about these two studies in this video, which includes the Fauci statement (and thank you Highwire for bringing us this information):
References from the video:
Doherty Institute report
In Australia much has been made of a report from the Doherty Institute:
Post-market validation of the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) SARS-CoV-2 Real Time PCR platform continued
Approval of international Covid19 PCR tests was rushed through by the TGA because of the perceived emergency early on in the pandemic, so the Doherty Institute undertook a study to validate the tests after they were already in use.
They tested cultured samples of virus in 3 different labs, to validate the tests. All they did was to establish the tests worked to detect target DNA – we know they work, that’s not the issue. The issue is whether the tests discover if subjects are infectious or not, which is indicated by how much virus is in the samples, and that was barely mentioned in the Doherty report.
The closest they came was to say in cases where over 38 cycles were used, the test should be repeated to check the result, and they have not recommended what number of cycles (Ct, the cycle threshold) would indicate an infected and infectious person.
It is puzzling that at the time of writing Victoria has had 10 days in a row with no new cases, despite a large number of tests being conducted. Today (Monday November 9) the ABC reported:
Health authorities carried out 10,653 COVID tests on Sunday. Mr Weimar said more than 235,000 tests had been conducted over the past two weeks, and widespread testing would continue for many months, until a vaccine became widely available.
This seems suspicious to us, because the PCR tests have known error margins, and there will always be some positive results when there is a low number of cases.
We wonder if something has changed in the way tests are conducted. Perhaps there has been a change in the way reagents are used, the search for target genes has widened or the cycle threshold has been lowered. We would love to find out from some labs what cycle threshold (Ct) they have been using in the past and continue to use currently.
Whatever is going on, the Andrews government should be making this sort of information available to the public.
There are other questions about the Covid19 PCR tests. For example, they only search for a few genes in the Covid19 virus RNA, and only a small part of those genes are targeted for detection. So the nucleotide sequences targeted in the PCR tests may not be unique to Covid19 virus, but be common to other viruses.
All in all, it is now obvious that a positive result from the Covid19 PCR tests used around the world does not necessarily mean anything, especially in the absence of knowing how many cycles were needed for a sample to give that positive result.
If this is the case, the Covid19 testing relied upon to quarantine people, mandate masks, shut down businesses and ruin people’s lives is entirely flawed, and we can only say a massive fraud on the world’s people has occurred.
Excellent video on PCR for the technically minded:
Coronavirus Test: Real time RT-PCR – Animation video
From Covid Medical Network (based in Victoria):