Coronavirus testing, in a nutshell.
The more we learn about coronavirus “science,” the clearer it is that this whole coronavirus “pandemic” is a total hoax.
Tests could be picking up dead virus cells from old — already defeated — infections.
The main test used to diagnose coronavirus is so sensitive it could be picking up fragments of dead virus from old infections, scientists say.
Most people are infectious only for about a week, but could test positive weeks afterwards.
Researchers say this could be leading to an over-estimate of the current scale of the pandemic.
But some experts say it is uncertain how a reliable test can be produced that doesn’t risk missing cases.
Prof Carl Heneghan, one of the study’s authors, said instead of giving a “yes/no” result based on whether any virus is detected, tests should have a cut-off point so that very small amounts of virus do not trigger a positive result.
He believes the detection of traces of old virus could partly explain why the number of cases is rising while hospital admissions remain stable.
The University of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine reviewed the evidence from 25 studies where virus specimens from positive tests were put in a petri dish to see whether they would grow.
This method of “viral culturing” can indicate whether the positive test has picked up active virus which can reproduce and spread, or just dead virus fragments which won’t grow in the lab, or in a person.
This is a problem we have known about since the start – and once again illustrates why data on Covid is far from perfect.
But what difference does it make? When the virus first emerged probably very little, but the longer the pandemic goes on the bigger the effect.
The flurry of information about testing and the R number creates confusion.
But when you take a coronavirus test, you get a “yes” or “no” answer. There is no indication of how much virus was in the sample, or how likely it is to be an active infection.
A person shedding a large amount of active virus, and a person with leftover fragments from an infection that’s already been cleared, would receive the same – positive – test result.
But Prof Heneghan, the academic who spotted a quirk in how deaths were being recorded, which led Public Health England to reform its system, says evidence suggests coronavirus “infectivity appears to decline after about a week”.
He added that while it would not be possible to check every test to see whether there was active virus, the likelihood of false positive results could be reduced if scientists could work out where the cut-off point should be.
This could prevent people being given a positive result based on an old infection.
And Prof Heneghan said that would stop people quarantining or being contact-traced unnecessarily, and give a better understanding of the current scale of the pandemic.
When the media and the government talk about “new cases” and show you a series of doom graphs, they’re probably showing you a bunch of people who had the virus at one point, without even realizing it.
They try to portray that as scary, but it’s the opposite of scary. The more people that have this virus and survive, the less dangerous the virus is. That should be the first thing that the media and the government tell people when they talk about “an increase in cases.”
Unfortunately, it is pretty clear that they want people to be very afraid of a flu as a part of some other, totally unrelated agenda.