World Health Organization Warns of ‘False Positives’ in PCR Tests for Covid-19, Says Some Patients May Not Be ‘Truly Infected’
The World Health Organization released a statement on December 14, 2020 that finally owned up to the “Problem” of flawed PCR tests amid a flurry of lawsuits exposing the incompetence of public health officials and policymakers for reliance on a diagnostic test not meant to diagnose disease. WHO admitted that the PCR test is arbitrary because “…many cycles were required to detect virus. In some circumstances, the distinction between background noise and actual presence of the target virus is difficult to ascertain.” Since it is well known that the PCR test is, in fact, being used as the primary diagnostic tool, WHO apparently was compelled to remove this message from the Internet.
A month later, WHO issued a medical product alert on January 20 that stated “Most PCR assays are indicated as an aid for diagnosis,” which means the PCR test is not itself a diagnostic tool, but merely an aid in diagnosis. WHO recommends that “health care providers must consider any result in combination with timing of sampling, specimen type, assay specifics, clinical observations, patient history, confirmed status of any contacts, and epidemiological information.” In other words, the PCR test alone is not adequate, and that other factors, including who you have been near, must be considered to determine whether someone is “truly infected”.
The World Health Organization is warning that widely deployed technology used to test for COVID-19 may, if interpreted incorrectly, lead at least some patients to believe they have the virus when in fact they are not “truly infected.”
In a “medical product alert” issued last week, the WHO said that anyone “interpreting results for [COVID-19] specimens tested using [polymerase chain reaction] methodology” should be aware that “careful interpretation of weak positive results is needed.”
The WHO’s alert specifically addresses a controversial aspect of COVID-19 PCR tests: the “cycle threshold,” or the number of amplification cycles the test must undergo before detecting a COVID-19 specimen.
If a test must go through a high number of cycles before detecting the COVID virus, it potentially indicates that the original viral specimen was weak and the patient from whom it came may not be infectious or even “truly infected,” as the WHO put it in its announcement.