90% of people tested positive in 3 states barely carried coronavirus. Stunning new research finds C19 PCR tests are much too sensitive to be useful in assessing coronavirus spread
The United States now has at least 6,157,483 confirmed cases of coronavirus with over 187,000 deaths reported, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. As part of its effort to slow the spread of coronavirus in the United States, the FDA approved the use of two testing methods to determine if someone has COVID 19– diagnostic test and antibody test.
A diagnostic test shows if you have an active coronavirus infection and should take steps to quarantine or isolate yourself from others. Currently, there are two types of diagnostic tests that detect the virus – molecular tests, such as RT-PCR tests, that detect the virus’s genetic material, and antigen tests that detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus.
The second method of testing is the antibody test that looks for antibodies that are made by your immune system in response to a threat, such as a specific virus. According to the FDA, antibodies can take several days or weeks to develop after you have an infection and may stay in your blood for several weeks or more after recovery. “Because of this, antibody tests should not be used to diagnose an active coronavirus infection. At this time researchers do not know if the presence of antibodies means that you are immune to the coronavirus in the future,” FDA said on its website.
Now, new stunning research finds that the C19 PCR diagnostic tests are much too sensitive to be useful in assessing spread. Yesterday, an exclusive report from the New York Times found that “the usual diagnostic tests may simply be too sensitive and too slow to contain the spread of the virus.”
According to the report, the NY Times found that “in three sets of testing data that include cycle thresholds, compiled by officials in Massachusetts, New York, and Nevada, up to 90 percent of people testing positive carried barely any virus.” If true, the finding may have huge implications for how we count the number of people with coronavirus in the United States.
The report added that the PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample. The greater the viral load, the more likely the patient is to be contagious.
However, the New York Times said that the “cycle threshold,” which is the number of amplification cycles needed to find the virus, is never included in the results sent to doctors and coronavirus patients, although the cycle threshold could tell the doctors how infectious the patients are.