The success of rRT-PCR testing depends on several factors. According to the CDC, these factors include the experience and expertise of laboratory personnel, laboratory environment (e.g., avoidance of contamination), and the type and condition of specimens being tested. Furthermore, these surveillance tests only look for vague viral RNA in swabs and do not determine whether millions of virus particles are replicating in the body and causing an actual infection, and the tests do not measure the health of the innate immune response and whether the virus will even manifest symptoms of disease. Put simply, you could test positive via PCR for coronavirus and only have mild symptoms of a cold or you could have a horrific respiratory distress.
CDC’s first test kits for COVID-19 failed, turned up false positives in controls
PCR tests are the “gold standard” for detecting the presence of viral RNA sequences in the body fluid of humans. Fundamentally flawed from the start, the test uses reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction to detect viral nucleic acid, but when the minuscule viral RNA detected in a swab of a person, those particles are not always confirmed as infectious virus. (Did you know that RNA from Ebola can be detected in human two years after an infection?)
Even though no differentiation of infectious virus material is confirmed, the case numbers go up anyway, quarantine measures are taken, the public panics that there is another case, and social distancing measures must be taken, events closed. For those who think the media is fear-mongering, and blowing this coronavirus out of proportion, well the media is simply relaying the message - an ongoing conundrum that faulty scientific process and false positive testing has created. Instead of tallying cases and panicking, it's more important to understand why people are dying and what can be done to ease the suffering.
The CDC’s latest PCR test was designed to find the RNA for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and a host of other coronaviruses that infect humans. When the first laboratories applied the testing, scientists noticed that test kit controls (containing no viral RNA) were giving off false positives. This is the worst kind of flaw, for it renders all test results used on people as invalid.
Kelly Wroblewski, a microbiologist who leads infectious disease programs at the Association of Public Health Laboratories, says the nucleic acid probes used to detect RNA sequences did not work properly and the reagents could have been contaminated.
NYC Department of Health spokeswoman Stephanie Buhle wrote, “The kits that were sent to us have demonstrated performance issues and cannot be relied upon to provide an accurate result.”
Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, said that surveillance testing may not be the best use of resources. “A lot of people look at lab tests like they are magic,” Pandori said. “But when you run lab tests, the more chances you have for getting false answers.”
How can the public trust the test results thus far and how might future testing inaccuracies skew the surveillance data and cause undo panic, market instability, and over-reactive government responses? With millions of tests soon to be released in the U.S., how many false positives will crop up and how many cases of severe infection could go undetected?
When it does work, PCR testing only shows vague viral RNA and does not differentiate serious infections from mild illness or no illness at all
The PCR test is based on a tedious process of creating a DNA strand that resembles the RNA present in the sample. That DNA strand is so minuscule, it has to be amplified multiple times to detect for specific nucleic acids. In this case, the CDC is trying to detect even the slightest presence of coronavirus RNA, and that could encompass viral RNA from multiple strains of coronavirus that is endemic in the U.S. Once that RNA sequence is detected, (although it is not necessarily infectious) the test produces a fluorescent signal, providing a positive test result. That unreliable positive result is now being used to isolate people, expend medical resources, and exaggerate statistics.
The PCR test is literally straining at a microscopic level to detect for a few vague viral particles in swabs taken from the throat or nasal passageway of a person. Moreover, the nasal passageways are constantly processing viral fragments from the environment. These vague viral fragments, taken from a part of the body that is designed to process viruses and bacteria all the time, are never confirmed as an infectious threat and are never detected at the quantity needed to ensure that a virus is multiplying and overpowering the innate immune system. It takes multiple millions of virus cells, actively replicating in the body, before an infectious disease should even be considered. PCR testing can easily over-exaggerate the presence of viral RNA as if finding non-infectious viral RNA is some public health emergency. To make matters worse, these new PCR tests are providing false positives even in control samples that do not contain viral fragments.
On top of these fundamental flaws in the viral surveillance, the CDC is finding out that there is more than one coronavirus strain spreading through the population at this time. How many more mutations are happening right now and how many more will occur when vaccine science puts pressure on the evolutionary survival of the virus?
Differentiating the strains is important because health authorities can make a big deal out of a mild coronavirus strain and expend valuable medical resources isolating and treating people who have no reason to panic. When the masses begin to panic about any mild symptom of illness, the people who need medical help the most may not get it because resources are being unnecessarily used up on mild cases. The immune-compromised people who are struggling from shortness of breath from the highly-evolved strains are the ones who need their cases differentiated, monitored, and treated. The CDC's surveillance system cannot accomplish this.
The CDC’s surveillance of this novel coronavirus is fraud from the start and is fueling a rabid media that is perpetuating pandemonium. Instead of focusing on misleading and faulty surveillance of viral RNA, a better way to approach the situation is to understand the pathogenesis of coronaviruses and provide resources that stop the replication of the virus. One way to do that is to invest in the development of nutraceuticals that better equip the innate immune system, especially in severely immune-compromised people who are at greatest risk of suffering.