The PCR story gets WORSE – and that’s putting aside the FP test/ops issues & that it doesn’t detect disease or infection 👇🏼
❗️This is an IMPORTANT post. Spend time to read and digest.
As Vallance declared in a recent COVID briefing, the PCR test is too sensitive and is open to a myriad of reporting issues.
📉 And as we exposed, there has been a bait and switch to Lateral Flow tests in the last couple of months, allowing for a rapid decline in Positive tests (“cases”) as LFD testing scaled in January.
🧪 Of course, we should all now be aware of the issues of test and operational False Positives with PCR tests, and how FP’s increase significantly as test population prevalence decreases – i.e. it’s more accurate when used in hospital to confirm a serious infection vs testing the community with no/mild symptoms of being unwell.
🧪 We should also be sensitive to the Cycle Thresholds (Ct) used at point of PCR test result readout. A Ct of <25 is considered reliable in correctly the genes in question, and >35 the result is considered highly speculative/ false.
Two Major Dials have been changing
😲Well, on top of the Lateral Flow pivot and Respiratory Virus Seasonality – both of which will dramatically reduce test positivity, we have TWO other dials that have been changing:
1️⃣ GENE KNOCK OUT:
The UK New Variant (B.1.1.7) declared in mid Dec-20 yet first detected in Sept-20 has a number of mutations, some of which materially change the S Protein (Spike protein gene). As such, this gene was knocked out of the PCR test.
🎛 As we reported at the time, and explained by Dr Clare Craig, this meant PCR test centres adjusted the test config to accept only 2 genes vs 3 genes. In some cases only 1!
This is material, because accuracy compounds.
👃🏻 Imagine trying to find a criminals face in a photo database of the population. If we only describe their specific nose shape, we would get tons of false results.
👁 If we add their eye shape and eye colour, the returned results will reduce, but there still will be loads of false positive.
🦹🏻 If we then add their unique pattern of freckles, we would get far fewer results, especially if we were matching the exact placement of all three features.
The PCR test designed in Jan 2020, which has many issues under current scientific scrutiny, was optimally designed to test for 3 unique(ish) genes. If you cut off the test at a low Ct level (under 25), a returned result would be considered accurate ~99% of the time.
HOWEVER, if you drop to 2 genes, the accuracy drops. If you only match one gene, things get even worse.
Here’s another way to think about this, using a hypothetical 20% FP with a single gene:
🔴 1 gene match = 20% FP
🟠 2 gene match = 4% FP (0.2×0.2)
🟢 3 gene match = 0.8% FP (0.2×0.2×0.2)
Accuracy compounds as you add more unique AND genes to test for.
‼️ In the above example, the PCR test would have gone from 0.8% FP to 4% FP – a 5x increase in false positives between Sept-20 to Dec-20.
Now check this out – at the time of the new variant being detected in Sept, we had about 1,700 daily “cases” in England. Factor in the natural season rise in respiratory viruses in autumn/winter, we had about 11,000 daily “cases” by early Dec.
‼️ And then, in early December Test Labs started to accept 2-gene positive results due to the new variant gene knock out. In only a month, with this lower accuracy bar, daily “cases” sky rocket to 72K!
2️⃣ ESCALATING CT VALUES:
↘️ Check out the bottom-right graph. It shows the median CT level of test results from Sept onwards.
The dotted red line is the max reliable CT value that lab technicians can trust to strongly indicate an active infection (tested by attempting to culture the sample).
😬 Throughout the period of measurement, the median CT value has been north of that value, and for good chunks close or above CT of 30.
You can see by the graphed percentiles, the majority of the results are skewed to higher CT values – represented by the back line very close to the 75 and 90th percentiles.
‼️ We also know that 75% of the current results are ABOVE a CT of 25, with 40% of results between 32-35%. 10% of the results fall above a CT of 35.
Now, it should be noted that this data is from ONS’ private residence Infection Survey study. Over the last 6 weeks, they have tested 321K people, across 532K tests and 162K households. It does not include those in Hospitals and Care homes, where the disease dynamics will be much higher.
⚠️ That said, this data is very concerning. The community PCR tests have always been running too high, at least from June 2020, and as such has been fuelling FALSE “cases”, hospitalisations, and COVID-deaths since then.
📉 As the Govt continue to switch Community testing from PCR to LFD, we will see a plummeting of “cases”. As PCR test are reserved for the only viable use case – testing seriously diseased individuals in hospitals, “cases” will plummet.
And voila, cases disappearing!
Long post, but hopefully the insights are eye opening and informative.
🤔 Winter is almost done. Spring is upon us, where mortality drops materially. Combine that with LFD testing overshadowing PCR testing, and the majority of frail having received their vaccine 1st dose, we can guarantee a dropping of cases, hospitalisations, and deaths…
…and that has nothing to do with the use of temporary use experimental vaccines. 💉
ONS Infection Survey dataset, 12th Feb 2021. Linked below. 👇🏼
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