The Peculiar PCR Test

Jack Kerwick, Are most of the “cases” real?

In a recent essay, I argued that neither SARS-CoV-2, “the Coronavirus,” nor its causal connection to the disease known as COVID-19 have been established according to the scientific protocols that have long been in place to demonstrate these sorts of things.

Skeptics will ask two questions:

(1)How do you explain all of these people testing positive for COVID?

(2) From what are all of these people getting sick and dying?

Good questions.  In this essay, we’ll answer the first.  The second will be addressed in a future essay.

TESTING POSITIVE for COVID

For starters, some people, particularly in the first few months of this lamentable chapter in our country’s history, were not tested at all.  Doctors were instructed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify COVID patients on the presumption that they had the virus.  Hospitals that had prepared for an onslaught of COVID patients by suspending the operations and procedures that would’ve otherwise been performed for patients with other life-threatening illnesses prepared for a flood of patients that never materialized.

Thus, with emergency rooms across the country devoid of the usual flow of traffic, administrators had that much more of a financial incentive to follow the CDC’s guideline, for they received $13,000 for each COVID patient and $39,000 for each COVID patient that they placed on a ventilator.

Let’s, however, put all of this aside and consider the test, the PCR test that is used to determine COVID cases.

Right from the jump, it’s crucial to take note of the fact that for the first time ever, beginning just last year, “cases” was radically redefined in such a way that would have been unthinkable in just February of 2020 (one month before The Virus Apocalypse engulfed the universe).

For starters, as indicated above, many of these “cases,” per the CDC, included those patients who were labeled as “probable” carriers of the virus.  This means that they were diagnosed as “cases” in the absence of any “confirmatory laboratory testing.”  And yet they were identified as COVID “cases.”

Moreover, even when testing is figured into it, with respect to no other virus or disease has the CDC ever counted as a “case” a merely positive test.  A positive test, in other words, has never been regarded by the medical establishment as sufficient grounds upon which to determine a “case.” Rather, in order for something to count as a “case,” a person had to have been sick and in need of medical attention like, say, hospitalization.

In the COVID era, however, the CDC began accumulating positive PCR test results (about more of which will be said below) from people the vast majority of whom are “asymptomatic,” meaning they feel just fine, and combining them with positive antibodies tests from people who also feel just fine: The final sum, this compound, comprises all “cases.”

Even The Atlantic, in its piece, “How Could the CDC make that Mistake?” had to concede (in so many words) that this, at the very least, was anything but a scientific way of counting “cases.”

What The Atlantic did not acknowledge, though, is that the CDC’s manner of counting COVID cases is as rational as any other numbers cooking scheme. Furthermore, it did indeed prove wildly successful in conveying the impression to a scientifically illiterate public that case numbers were exploding.

Now, as for those PCR tests: There are two problems.

First, as Karry Mullis bluntly remarked: “Quantitative PCR is an oxymoron.”  Who was Karry Mullis?  He was the inventor of the PCR test.  And he won a Nobel Prize in Science for this achievement.  What did the late Dr. Mullis—who, interestingly (but unsurprisingly), contemptuously characterized Anthony Fauci as an incompetent, a fraud, and a liar “who doesn’t know anything about anything, and I’d say that to his face!”—mean by his characterization of his own invention?

In 1996 Mullis was among those to be interviewed by John Lauritsen (an Emmy award-winning reporter who self-describes himself as having been, during the course of his life, an “anti-war activist, a gay liberationist, an AIDS dissident, a publisher, and an all-around free thinker.”

Obviously, the discussion was not about SARS-CoV-2 and whether it is the cause of COVID-19.  Rather, it was about HIV and whether it caused AIDS.  Mullis, like Lauritsen and the other scientists covered in Lauritsen’s essay, staunchly rejected the dominant thesis.  Lauritsen explains why Mullis denied that his own test could detect HIV.  The reasons for its failure to detect HIV are one and the same reasons for its failure to detect SARS-CoV-2.  It’s worth quoting him at length:

“PCR is intended to identify substances qualitatively, but by its very nature is unsuited for estimating numbers [of viruses].  Although there is a common misimpression that the viral load tests actually count the number of viruses in the blood, these tests cannot detect free, infectious viruses at all; they can only detect proteins that are believed, in some cases wrongly, to be unique to HIV.  The tests can detect genetic sequences of viruses, but not viruses themselves” (emphases added).

Lauitsen explains further:

“What PCR does is to select a genetic sequence and then amplify it enormously.  It can accomplish the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack; it can amplify that needle into a haystack. Like an electronically amplified antenna, PCR greatly amplified the signal, but it also greatly amplifies the noise” (emphases added).

What this implies is that given that “the amplification is exponential, the slightest error in measurement, the slightest contamination, can result in errors of many orders of magnitude.”

Lauristsen makes an analogy.  “[Using] the viral load tests to gauge viral activity would be like finding a few fingernail clippings; amplifying the fingernail clippings into a small mountain of fingernail clippings mixed in with other junk; and then having an ‘expert’ come along and interpret the pile as representing a platoon of soldiers, fully armed and ready for battle.”

He concludes: “In short, the viral load tests are a scam.”

To be clear, this is the position of Lauritsen, yes, but as well of Karry Mullis, inventor of the PCR test that is now being treated as the gold standard of COVID testing.

There is still another problem with the PCR test as it is currently being used that guarantees its utter worthlessness.  More exactly, that guarantees that the “case” numbers built upon it are wholly inaccurate and, hence, meaningless.

This past fall, none other than the New York Times noted that possibly as high as 90% of all positive test results are false. 

Per the CDC and FDA guidelines, the vast majority of PCR tests are run at a threshold of 40 cycles.  Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist from Harvard who is quoted in the Times piece, notes that when PCR tests are run at 35 or more cycles, they “may detect not just live virus but also live fragments, leftovers from infection that pose no particular risks—akin to finding a hair in a room long after a person has left.”

Julia Morrison, a virologist at the University of California who is also featured in this expose of the inadequacies of present PCR testing, is blunt:

“I’m shocked that people would think that 40 could represent a positive.”

Dr. Morrison insists that 30 to 35 would be a “more reasonable cutoff [.]” Dr. Mina said that he “would set the figure at 30, or even less.”

Most people aren’t aware of this, but the lowering of the threshold of cycles from 40 to a figure comparable to that which Drs. Morrison and Mina prescribe translates into an enormous difference.

“Those changes would mean the amount of genetic material in a patient’s sample would have to be 100-fold to 1,000-fold that of the current standard for the test to return a positive-result—or at least one worth acting on” (emphasis added).

To what should be a surprise to no one, the Times piece informs us that Drs. Mina and Morrison “and other researchers are questioning the use of PCR tests as a frontline diagnostic tool.”

The French researcher Didier Raoult has shown that when the PCR test is run at 25 cycles, about 70% of samples were genuinely positive—meaning infectious.  However, when the test is run at a threshold of 30 cycles, only 20% of samples were infectious.  At 35 cycles, but three percent of samples were infectious.

And when the test was run above 35 cycles?

Zero samples were infectious.

Even Anthony Fauci, back in July and while on the science podcast of Columbia University virologist Vincent Racaniello, admitted that the prevailing standard supplies bogus results. Fauci stated:

“What is now sort of evolving into a bit of a standard” is that “if you get a cycle threshold of 35 or more…the chances of it being replication-confident [a true, as opposed to a false, positive] are miniscule.”

Fauci adds that it’s “very frustrating for the patients as well as for the physicians” when a test is run at a cycle threshold of, like, “37,” for “you almost never can culture virus from a 37 threshold cycle.”

Fauci concludes: “So, I think if somebody does come in with 37, 38, even 36, you got to say, you know, it’s just dead nucleotides, period” (emphases added).

Translation: False positive.

And, thus, meaningless.

Yet if the COVID case numbers mean nothing, if they are all cooked, inflated by orders of magnitude, then of what are all of these people getting sick and dying?

This is the question to which we will turn in the next article.