PCR tests, since March 2020, have been the beacon that led us into lockdown. Our freedoms have rested in the hands of those vital positives and negatives, those numbers have been used as the guideline for how long or how strict lockdowns should be. One would be sensible to assume that PCR tests, being such crucial indicators of our situation, are an accurate and medically recommended resource. Unfortunately, “sensible” has not been a prevailing quality of our government yet this decade.
In terms of accuracy, PCR assays in the UK do have analytical sensitivity and specificity greater than 95%, but these quality assurance processes take place under idealised conditions with hospital samples that contain higher viral loads than most people being tested. This means that the accuracy in real life applications is likely to differ substantially from the official tests.
You may also have heard reference to the amount of cycles the sample is put through. The WHO website published a “clarification” of their previous information that stated “WHO requests users to follow the instructions for use when interpreting results for specimens tested using PCR methodology”. The tests are not being interpreted in line with the guidance.
It elaborates, saying“Users must read and follow the instructions for use carefully to determine if manual adjustment of the PCR positivity threshold is recommended by the manufacturer”(spoiler alert: it is NOT recommended). Manual adjustment refers to the amount of cycles the test is being put through, as the cycle threshold needed to detect the virus is inversely proportional to the patient’s viral load.
This means that the less infected a person is, the more cycles are needed to detect any virus at all. Often, this will be more cycles than are recommended, meaning that if the test was used properly it would come out as negative. Testers have been increasing the cycles in order to increase positive test results, which is what the WHO is criticising in this publication.
“But they are still infected!” You might reply. Yes, any person is susceptible to a small amount of viral infection at any time, but when it’s so small that the test cannot detect it at recommended levels, this just means that their immune system is doing its job. They will recover, with no symptoms or transmission to others, very quickly. Your immune system does this daily, attacking small amounts of invading pathogens, and you don’t notice or consider yourself to be “infected” whenever this happens.
Overall what this evidence from the WHO shows is that the PCR test is being abused and altered in order to scrape any positive from the bottom of the barrel that they can. The only reason I personally can think for doing this is to try to prove that the government hasn’t overreacted or made the wrong choice. “Look at all these positives!” They cry, “It is a real danger, see!”.
If you need a test result to tell you if you’re unwell or not, you’re not unwell.