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Scott Atlas Addresses Flaws in the Use of PCR Testing for COVID-19
Scott Atlas wonders if the truth of the pandemic will survive. We have the solution to correct course on the COVID-19 PCR diagnosis fiasco.
Hillsdale College has just launched an Academy for Science & Freedom, which must be celebrated. In a recent presentation there, former White House Coronavirus task force member Scott Atlas gave a presentation entitled “The SARS2 Pandemic: Will Truth Prevail?”.
Atlas’s presentation reviews the span of important topics: the lockdown, school closures, the effects on children and others. All of them stem from the abuse of PCR in COVID-19 testing. After nearly two years of educating the public about the inherent flaws in the use of PCR testing, it is so gratifying, and yet so saddening, to see the truth be told in a public academy setting. It’s sad because the misuse of PCR continues to this day. Atlas does a good job, citing peer-reviewed literature that shows that samples with cycle numbers over 35 have very little chance of being truly positive for the virus.
But there are a few additional salient points worth being made:
Birx’s decree of “PCR+ = COVID19” was and still is flawed.
Birx’s decree of “died with = died from” was and still is flawed.
CDC’s inclusion of “presumed COVID-19” in their counts (PCR- but the doctor rules “COVID-19” was and still is flawed.
PCR primer sites evolve, meaning the virus can escape these tests, and thus reliance on PCR as a screen was, and still is flawed.
The indiscriminate use of testing on the asymptomatic with any test that has false positives was and still is flawed.
The only way to know if a sample truly has SARS-CoV-2 present is to use Sanger sequencing with nested primer sets so the sequence of the primer sites are known for each result. We’ve said this from the beginning, and we’ve said it over, and over. Each and every time a person is tested with PCR, they could be either positive or negative; those who are positive could be truly positive, or a false positive due to PCR push-through, and we have data estimating false positive rates between 60 to 90%. Those who are negative could actually be positive, due to PCR primer drop-out. Primer drop out means test failure for 50% of people being tested in a three-primer pair set test kit.
PCR Ct Threshold and Vaccine Efficacy
An important point that Atlas misses is that the very data he cites showing the vaccines reduce hospitalization depends on PCR testing. This is an honest oversight because you would really have to be hyper-focused on PCR testing to realize this. But the impact of CDC’s odd and inexplicable switch to considering people vaccinated only two weeks after the last dose, combined with using a lower PCR cycle threshold plus hospitalization or death to track breakthrough cases should be looked into to help answer the question:
Are data on vaccine efficacy skewed by case counting procedures related to PCR cycle threshold?
We need legislation that forces those who manufacture and use PCR in the diagnosis of COVID-19 to reveal the cycle threshold in use for each kit over time since the beginning of the pandemic. The same legislation should require that patients be told their cycle threshold NUMBER and the probability that the virus is present at the cycle threshold number.
This will end “PCR+ = COVID19” and replace it with a more realistic, and therefore more useful, assessment that doctors and patients can readily understand.
We also need legislation that forces those who use PCR in the diagnosis of COVID-19 to perform Sanger sequencing confirmation on the residual of the sample using nested primer sets to confirm if the virus is truly present in the positive samples, and to find cases when the kit is failing due to primer drop-out. They should be required to confirm the PCR result in 5% of all results in both the PCR+ and PCR- categories with Sanger sequencing.
This will lead to proper adjustments to reported number of cases and deaths that might involve COVID-19. CDC currently has no adjustment for the PCR false positive rate, and given school closures and worklosses based PCR results, that’s an immense problem. Businesses that keep workers away based on positive PCR results are making problems for themselves due to false positives.
Dr. Sin Hang Lee of Millford, CT has a protocol for this - and has an Omicron-specific Sanger sequencing test kit. In an interview with Dr. Ealy and I, Dr. Lee reminded us there are over 6,000 labs around the US that can do Sanger sequencing. There’s no excuse for not confirming. They will find primer drop-out when it occurs - and we’ll finally have an accurate count of the number of PCR positive patients. Getting to accurate counts on cases of COVID-19, a disease, and deaths due to COVID-19, will require further refinements.