Dr. Anthony Fauci was on CNN on Monday morning, complaining the number of positive tests for COVID-19 per day. Of course, these are always called “cases,” which prompts people with a medical background to pull their hair out for several reasons. However, it is crucial to favorite storytelling that you think there are 40,000 new sufferers every day. People who may need the kind of sophisticated care provided to President Trump at Walter Reed Medical Center.
This idea is ludicrous, misleading and alarmist for many reasons. First, the citation of “cases”
The PCR test does not detect a live virus. In order for a virus to infect an individual or be passed on to another person, it must be able to reproduce. PCR does not measure the ability of the detected material to make additional copies of itself. The word material should be used because the PCR test looks for virus RNA fragments. It does not require a full RNA strand to return a positive result.
6 questions an honest and intelligent journalist would ask Dr. Fauci about COVID-19
The CDC knows this, and so does the FDA. This knowledge is why the CDC no longer suggests retesting cured patients. The agency acknowledges that a patient will shed viral particles unable to be transmitted and causing infections for up to 90 days. When you add research on T-cell immunity to this mix, you can see why there are so many asymptomatic “cases”.
T cells are immune cells found in the lymphatic system and some have a form of “memory”. They recognize parts of viral and bacterial invaders and are activated to eliminate them from the body by a complex immune response. Research demonstrates enough similarity between COVID-19 and other coronaviruses to suggest that this reaction occurs somewhere between 40% and 60% of the population.
As Dr. Beda M. Stadler, Swiss biologist, professor emeritus and former director of the University of Bern’s Institute of Immunology, noted that the same viral particles found in a cured patient will be found in someone with an effective immune response. to COVID-19 (my emphasis):
So, if we run a PCR corona test on an immune person, it’s not a virus that is detected, but a small shattered part of the viral genome. The test comes back positive as long as there are tiny shattered parts of the virus left. Correct: even if infectious viruses are long dead, a corona test can come back positive, because the PCR method sufficiently multiplies even a small fraction of the viral genetic material [to be detected].
Reporting a The New York Times echoed this remark. According to a study of positive samples in New York, Massachusetts and Nevada, 90% of the tests had very little viral debris in the sample, indicating that infection and transmission are unlikely:
In three sets of test data that include cycle thresholds, compiled by officials in Massachusetts, New York, and Nevada, up to 90 percent of people who tested positive carried almost no viruses, according to a Times review.
On Thursday, the United States recorded 45,604 new coronavirus cases, according to a database maintained by The Times. If infectiousness rates in Massachusetts and New York were to apply nationwide, then perhaps only 4,500 of those people might actually need to isolate themselves and undergo contact tracing.
In the article, Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, explained the problem:
“We’ve used one data type for everything, and that’s just pretty much – that’s it,” said Dr. Mina. “We are using it for clinical diagnostics, for public health, for political decision making.”
The New York Times does accidental reporting on COVID-19 tests
The PCR test looks for the virus by amplifying the RNA it detects. Each amplification is called a cycle. The more cycles the test uses, the more likely it is to find pieces of the virus’ RNA. In the United States, most labs run 40 cycles, according to the Times. The interviewed experts said that this number of cycles is unnecessarily high:
Tests with such high thresholds can detect not only live viruses but also genetic fragments, residues of infections that pose no particular risk, such as finding a hair in a room long after a person has left, said Dr. Mina.
Any test with a cycle threshold greater than 35 is too sensitive, agrees Juliet Morrison, a virologist at the University of California, Riverside. “I’m shocked that people think 40 could be a positive,” she said.
A more reasonable limit would be 30 to 35, he added. Dr. Mina said he would set the figure at 30 or less. These changes would mean that the amount of genetic material in a patient’s sample would have to be 100 to 1,000 times that of the current standard for the test to return a positive result – at least, worth acting on.
So, a hypersensitive test is detecting the “cases” that Dr. Fauci is having vapors. Taiwan, which has been praised for its response to the virus, uses a cycle threshold of less than 32 to diagnose patients who may become ill and infected. Undoubtedly, this allows them to track and mitigate contacts more effectively. They are targeting the contacts of those most likely to be contagious. An Oxford study found that cycle thresholds above 30 were detecting non-infectious cases.
A large-scale study in India could provide more information. Although it is not clear which test was used, PCR is the most common. The study traced the contacts of 84,965 people, testing 575,071 contacts. It was found that 8% of the infected population accounted for 60% of new cases. Threshold-of-cycle data in those who have transmitted the virus would help establish rational limits for detecting infectious cases.
The Los Angeles Times refers to the 8% who have infected many others as “super speakers” because that’s a scary term. It is probably more rational to assume that those individuals had a higher viral load and capable of producing a viral dose large enough to infect other people. Viral dose at exposure is hypothesized to determine disease risk and severity with COVID-19.
COVID-19 Answers We must all be choosy NOW
The FDA, which approves COVID-19 tests, and the CDC, which provides clinical guidance, must address the sensitivity of the test immediately. The FDA must set appropriate cycle thresholds for US testing laboratories, and laboratories should note the number of cycles required to detect the virus on all test results. The CDC should provide clinical guidance for vendors setting a reasonable cycle threshold for a positive test that requires contact tracing.
If Taiwan has successfully used 32 as a probable threshold of transmission and national health experts agree that 30-35 is more than adequate, why do our labs do 40 on a regular basis? It certainly inflates the number of positive tests exponentially, providing the tin dictators in state houses across the nation with the foundation to block you.
A significant bet could be made that, following the inauguration of a Biden president, agencies will address this problem. Magically, without real intervention, the number of “cases” will decrease simply because our agencies issue rational guidance. The information they need to do this is available today. A reduction to just 35, well within the search results, would make contact tracking and mitigation much more effective.
The fact that this has not been addressed, despite widespread reporting of the problem, is inexcusable. And the longer he goes on with Dr. Fauci wringing his hands over the number of “cases” on television, the more political he appears.