To the Editor,
The following was taken from an article titled “Growing research indicates many COVID-19 cases may not be infectious at all” from justthenews.com updated November 12, 2020, and “Kansas labs set cycle thresholds too high, detect non-contagious virus” from sentinelksmo.org updated October 12, 2020.
“A growing body of research suggests that a significant number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in the U.S. — perhaps as many as 9 out of every 10 — may not be infectious at all, with much of the country’s testing equipment possibly picking up mere fragments of the disease rather than full-blown infections.
Many politicians, meanwhile — including most state governors in the U.S. — have tied reopening policies to the number of cases detected in the local community.
Yet a burgeoning line of scientific inquiry suggests that many confirmed infections of COVID-19 may actually be just residual traces of the virus itself, a contention that — if true — may suggest both that current high levels of positive viruses are clinically insignificant and that the mitigation measures used to suppress them may be excessive.
The “cycle threshold” is the number of amplification cycles a PCR test goes through before a target pathogen is detected. A lower cycle threshold means that a higher amount of the virus was present in the sample; a higher threshold means the machine had to work harder to detect the virus in the sample, indicating a lower viral load and more likely a non-infectious patient.
According to a rundown of PCR tests compiled by the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, many manufacturers of PCR tests set the cycle threshold cutoff for a positive sample at up to around 40 cycles, a level numerous public health officials believe is guaranteed to return what are effectively false positive results that have detected fragments of the virus.
The Sentinel adds, “virologists and most researchers, including the Centers for Disease Control, agree that it is difficult to find a live virus capable of transmission beyond 34 cycles. But the Kansas state lab, which conducts about 24% of all tests in the state, is using a cycle threshold of 42 cycles and likely finding dead virus particles that can’t be transmitted to others.”
“I’m shocked that people would think that 40 could represent a positive,” Juliet Morrison, a virology professor at the University of California, Riverside, told the New York Times in August.
At the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University, researchers stressed last month that “PCR detection of viruses is helpful so long as its limitations are understood; while it detects RNA in minute quantities, caution needs to be applied to the results as it often does not detect infectious virus.”
Submitted by Brown County Liberty Alliance: Jeff & Kelly Bryant, Nathan & Rachel Bunck, David & Briana Childress, Tyler & Cara Christian, Caleb & Amber Clement, Abigail Compton, Randy & Kay Garber, Jessica & Scott Gigstad, Harold & Ruby Heinen, Laura Hooper, Kyle & Michele Rodvelt, Tyler & Shelly Smith, Gwen Winter