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From The Memory Hole

Fauci on PCR Tests With Cycle Thresholds Above 35: ‘Dead Nucleotides, Period’

Since 2020, people all over the world have been subjected to billions of PCR tests, ostensibly to determine whether they have Covid-19, and must therefore (we’re told) be “isolated” from society to prevent them from infecting others.

However, that same year, just months into the “lockdowns,” Anthony Fauci made a widely-ignored admission that should have been headline news, as it undermines this entire paradigm

Appearing on Episode 641 of the This Week in Virology podcast on July 17, 2020, Fauci had the following exchange with hosts Vincent Racaniello and Rich Condit, both Ph.D professors who teach virology at Columbia University Medical Center and the University of Florida, respectively.

In case you missed it, Fauci says:

If you get a cycle threshold of 35 or more… the chances of it being replication-competent are minuscule … If somebody does come in with 37, 38, even 36, you gotta say, ya know, it’s just dead nucleotides, period.

Here’s a transcript of the full segment:

RACANIELLO: There have been a number of reports of patients who shed viral RNA for weeks, as determined by PCR. It doesn’t seem to be infectious virus. And the real question is are they a threat for transmission. And I’m wondering if you think we could use a cut-off of viral loads determined by PCR to say this patient is no longer infectious, can go home, can go to a nursing facility. Because right now the physicians are really having a hard time with that.

FAUCI: Right. Again, a good question, and what is now sort of evolving into a bit of a standard, that if you get a cycle threshold of 35 or more that the chances of it being replication-competent are miniscule. So that if somebody– and you know, we do– we have patients, and it’s very frustrating for the patients, as well as the physicians; somebody comes in and they repeat their PCR, and it’s like 37 cycle threshold. But you never, you almost never can culture virus from a 37 threshold cycle. So, I think if somebody does come in with 37, 38, even 36, you gotta say, ya know, it’s just dead nucleotides, period.

RACANIELLO: Mmm, yeah. Because as you know, we can’t easily culture infectious virus – you don’t have a BSL3 lab everywhere.

FAUCI: Exactly, exactly.

CONDIT: So is the threshold cycle– is reporting that a pretty standard practice in doing a diagnosis now

FAUCI: Yeah. Yeah.

CONDIT: …rather than just giving them positive or negative? Okay, good.

FAUCI: Yeah. Ya know, I mean– when you go in, when I get my test, ya know, it’s negative. When someone comes in and it’s positive, they don’t give them the threshold until you go back and ask for it.

CONDIT: Okay, but they know– they’ve got it.

FAUCI: They’ve got it. They’ve got it.

Why does this matter? Because most tests use a cycle threshold (Ct) value above 35 as the cutoff for a “positive” result.

The New York Times addressed this issue in August of 2020, just weeks after Fauci made the statements quoted above. In an aptly-titled article “Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive. Maybe It Shouldn’t Be,” the NYT reported:

Most tests set the limit at 40, a few at 37. This means that you are positive for the coronavirus if the test process required up to 40 cycles, or 37, to detect the virus

Got that? “Most.” The result:

  • Rampant false (or at least highly misleading) “positives” for people who are not infectious and most certainly do not need to be “quarantined” or otherwise prevented from living their lives.
  • Inflated “Covid death” counts, where people who are not sick with Covid (“dead nucleotides, period”) are nevertheless counted as having “died from Covid” because they tested “positive” via a PCR test with an absurdly high Ct limit.

Most establishment media outlets completely ignored this incredible admission from Fauci (as documented momentarily). Even the above-quoted NYT article failed to mention his quote at all, though it did quote other doctors and scientists corroborating the fact that – yes – “positive” PCR test results can be deceptive, and using a Ct of 37-40 is ridiculous.

For example, quoting Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health:

The most widely used diagnostic test for the new coronavirus, called a PCR test, provides a simple yes-no answer to the question of whether a patient is infected.

But similar PCR tests for other viruses do offer some sense of how contagious an infected patient may be: The results may include a rough estimate of the amount of virus in the patient’s body.

“We’ve been using one type of data for everything, and that is just plus or minus — that’s all,” Dr. Mina said. “We’re using that for clinical diagnostics, for public health, for policy decision-making.”

But yes-no isn’t good enough, he added. It’s the amount of virus that should dictate the infected patient’s next steps. “It’s really irresponsible, I think, to forgo the recognition that this is a quantitative issue,” Dr. Mina said.

Echoing Fauci, the NYT notes that the cycle threshold (Ct) is “never included in the results sent to doctors and coronavirus patients”:

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.

This number of amplification cycles needed to find the virus, called the cycle threshold, is never included in the results sent to doctors and coronavirus patients, although it could tell them how infectious the patients are.

What are the implications of failing to disclose Ct values while treating all “positive” results the same?

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, a review by The Times found.

On Thursday, the United States recorded 45,604 new coronavirus cases, according to a database maintained by The Times. If the rates of contagiousness in Massachusetts and New York were to apply nationwide, then perhaps only 4,500 of those people may actually need to isolate and submit to contact tracing.

In case you’re still not fully following, here’s that cycle threshold quote one more time, with a little more context:

One solution would be to adjust the cycle threshold used now to decide that a patient is infected. Most tests set the limit at 40, a few at 37. This means that you are positive for the coronavirus if the test process required up to 40 cycles, or 37, to detect the virus.

Tests with thresholds so high may detect not just live virus but also genetic fragments, leftovers from infection that pose no particular risk — akin to finding a hair in a room long after a person has left, Dr. Mina said.

Virologist Angela Rasmussen:

It’s just kind of mind-blowing to me that people are not recording the C.T. values from all these tests — that they’re just returning a positive or a negative,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University in New York.

Dr. Ashish Jha and virologist Julia Morrison:

I’m really shocked that it could be that high — the proportion of people with high C.T. value results,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. “Boy, does it really change the way we need to be thinking about testing.

“Tests with thresholds so high [37-40] may detect not just live virus but also genetic fragments, leftovers from infection that pose no particular risk — akin to finding a hair in a room long after a person has left, Dr. Mina said.

Any test with a cycle threshold above 35 is too sensitive, agreed Juliet Morrison, a virologist at the University of California, Riverside. “I’m shocked that people would think that 40 could represent a positive,” she said.”

If you’re thinking “but you are quoting the New York Times; that proves that the media did cover it!”:

This is one widely ignored and almost completely forgotten article in a sea of Covid propaganda. And, again, they didn’t even mention that Fauci himself had said the same thing — not in this article, nor any other. Neither did (for example) The Washington Post, CNN, or Fox News.

Again, this was the summer of 2020, when the media was treating just about everything else that came out of Fauci’s mouth as gospel.

“Boy, does it really change the way we need to be thinking about testing.” –Dr. Ashish Jha

It didn’t, and most people never even heard about this at all. (Did you? Or are you reading about it for the first time now?)

Instead, the media and “health authorities” continued to uncritically—and often breathlessly—report on PCR-based statistics and policies without qualification or skepticism.

For his part, Fauci never appears to have brought it up again, either. (Note that it took being asked the right questions by two professors that teach virology for him to divulge this critical information in the first place.)

It was (sort of) brought up to him at least one other time, but that wasn’t until almost a year and a half—and hundreds of millions of PCR tests—later.

On December 29, 2021, Ayman Mohyeldin interviewed Fauci on MSNBC and asked the following:

MOHYELDIN: I want to ask about being contagious and transmissibility for a moment. You explain that the reason we do not need to test — a requirement after a positive person isolate for five days is because the science says the odds of being contagious after those five days are low. Dr. Walensky has given a few additional reasons. She said a couple of times today that a PCR test could give someone who had a COVID positive result for up to 12 weeks. So is a PCR test not a good barometer either for transmissibility and isolation? How can people actually tell if they are contagious in the cycle of having COVID? How can you measure that, if not with a PCR test or an antigen test?

This was Fauci’s reply:

FAUCI: Yeah, that is a very good question, because PCR doesn’t measure replication competent virus. It measures viral particles, nucleic acid. So in other words, I could be infected, have cleared the replication competent virus from me, but I can continue to be positive with a PCR for several days after recovering and not being transmissible at all.

So although a PCR is good to tell you, am I infected, yes, I am infected. But the very fact that it’s positive for, as the CDC director said, for several days and even weeks later, it doesn’t give you any indication of whether or not you’re transmissible. And I think thats the understandable confusion that people have about testing. Testing saying whether you’re infected or not versus are you infected plus transmissible.

The only way you can tell if it’s transmissible, if you can show that there really is live replication virus in you. And the tests don’t measure that. They measure the presence or absence of the virus. And the virus could be dead, inactive virus that doesn’t transmit. So, it’s entirely understandable why people can get confused over that. I try to explain it to people, to hopefully clarify that.

So there you have it again, from Fauci’s own mouth: a “positive” PCR test “could be dead, inactive virus that doesn’t transmit” because the person already “cleared the replication competent virus.”

“It’s entirely understandable why people can get confused over that. I try to explain it to people…”

No, he does not. He, his colleagues, and the complicit media are the source of the confusion. They are the ones who pushed this bogus PCR testing paradigm while deliberately NOT explaining this, save—in Fauci’s case—one podcast episode that the media ignored where he was specifically asked about it (and possibly a few other scant mentions over the next year and a half, if any). In fact, that MSNBC interview may have even been the first time he was ever asked about it by a “mainstream” TV reporter – almost two years after COVID-19 was first declared to be a pandemic by the WHO.

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