() The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test “is unable to determine, beyond reasonable doubt, that such positivity result corresponds, in fact, to the infection of a person by the SARS-CoV-2 virus”, said the Lisbon Court of Appeal.
A Portuguese appeals court has ruled against the Azores Regional Health Authority, declaring the quarantining of four individuals is unlawful. One of them tested positive for COVID using a PCR test, and the other three were deemed to be high risk due to exposure, and as a result, the regional health authority forced them to undergo isolation. The appeal court heard scientific arguments from several scientists and doctors who made the case for the lack of reliability of the PCR tests in detecting the COVID-19 virus.
The court found that, based on the currently available scientific evidence, the PCR test is unable to determine beyond a reasonable doubt that a positive test actually corresponds to a COVID-19 infection for several reasons, two of the main reasons were that the test’s reliability depends on the number of cycles used, and the test’s reliability depends on the viral load present.
This was also brought up recently by tech mogul Elon Musk who recently revealed he had four tests completed in one day. Using the same test and the same nurse, he received two positive results and two negative results, causing him to state his belief that “something bogus” is going on here. He then asked his Twitter following
“In your opinion, at what Ct number for the cov2 N1 gene should a PCR test probably be regarded as positive? If I’m asking the wrong question, what is a better question?”
In the Portuguese appeal hearing, Jaafar et al. (2020) was cited, stating that “if someone is testing by PCR as positive when a threshold of 35 cycles or higher is used (as is the rule in most laboratories in Europe and the US), the probability that said person is infected is <3%, and the probability that said result is a false positive is 97%.” The court further noted that the cycle threshold used for the PCR tests currently being made in Portugal is unknown.
They also cited Surkova et al. (2020), stating that any diagnostic test must be interpreted in the context of the actual probability of disease as assessed prior to the undertaking of the test itself, and expresses the opinion that “in the current epidemiological landscape of the United Kingdom, the likelihood is increasing that Covid 19 tests are returning false positives, with major implications for individuals, the health system and society.”
The court also made the point that a medical diagnosis is a medical act, thus only a physician can determine if a person is ill, no other person or institution has a right to do that.
The court concluded that “if carried out with no prior medical observation of the patient, with no participation of a physician certified by the Ordem dos Médicos who would have assessed symptoms and requested the tests/exams deemed necessary, any act of diagnosis, or any act of public health vigilance (such as determining whether a viral infection or a high risk of exposure exist, which the aforementioned concepts subsume) will violate [a number of laws and regulations] and may configure a crime of usurpação de funções [unlawful practice of a profession] in the case said acts are carried out or dictated by someone devoid of the capacity to do so, i.e., by someone who is not a certified physician [to practice medicine in Portugal a degree is not enough, you need to be accepted as qualified to practice medicine by undergoing examination with the Ordem dos Médicos, roughly our equivalent of the UK’s Royal College of Physicians].”
In addition, the court rules that the Azores Health Authority violated article 6 of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, as it failed to provide evidence that the informed consent mandated by said Declaration had been given by the PCR-tested persons who had complained against the forced quarantine measures imposed on them….From the facts presented to the court, it concluded that no evidentiary proof or even indication existed that the four persons in question had been seen by a doctor, either before or after undertaking the test. (source)
According to Vasco Barreto, a researcher at the Center for the Study of Chronic Diseases (Cedoc) of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, it was irresponsible the way two magistrates dealt with the case. “PCR tests have a specificity and sensitivity greater than 95%. That is, in the overwhelming majority of cases they detect the virus that causes covid-19,” he said. This is indicated in a scientific article that is cited in the judgment, but that is read “completely wrong” by the magistrates, according to Germano de Sousa, former President of the Ordem dos Médicos and owner of a network of laboratories.
You can read more on why this judgement was “unscientific” according to them, here.
Why This Is Important: When it comes to the testing used to detect a COVID-19 infection, there is a wealth of information making it quite clear that the (PCR) tests are inadequate and unreliable for determining who is infected and who isn’t. As a result, there seems to be a strong possibility, according to many experts, that the number of cases recorded around the globe probably include a great number of false positives, meaning people who tested and do test positive for the virus don’t actually have it.
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