FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
30 September 2020
(Queen’s Park) – Randy Hillier, (Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston) questioned the Premier on concerns being raised all over the world about the reliability of PCR tests for COVID
“We know high false positive rates are due to high CTs (cycle thresholds) and Canadian and world experts agree it should not be more than 25 cycles. Yet according to the Journal of Virology, Ontario labs are testing samples at 38-45 cycles. Is our testing creating both a false understanding of risk as well as false positives?” Hillier asked the Premier.
Responding for the Premier, Minister of Health Christine Elliott seemed to acknowledge the problem, and simply implied that faulty testing was better than no testing.
“Since May, The Public Health Agency of Canada as well as virologists and other doctors around the world have been warning of problems with PCR testing procedures,” Hillier explained.
Amplification cycles are used to amplify a sample to make it easier to find the RNA that identifies COVID in a person; the threshold, or maximum amplification cycle, known as ‘CT’, should not exceed 25, yet Ontario labs are testing at between 38 and 45 cycles. This causes false positives because of improper manipulation of the sample.
Minister Elliott would not say when the government became aware of this problem and why nothing has yet been done to address it. Instead of committing to fixing the problem with PCR testing procedures, the Health Minister instead deflected by talking about other testing possibilities, many of which are not yet approved by Health Canada, or not widely available yet.
You can view the question and the whole exchange here.
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