In updated guidance published on Jan. 20, the WHO said that lab experts and health care practitioners should also consider the patient’s history and epidemiological risk factors alongside the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test in diagnosing the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
The new guidance could result in significantly fewer daily cases.
“Most PCR assays are indicated as an aid for diagnosis, therefore, health care providers must consider any result in combination with timing of sampling, specimen type, assay specifics, clinical observations, patient history, confirmed status of any contacts, and epidemiological information,” the guidance says.
It’s unclear why the health agency waited more than a year to release the new directive. The WHO didn’t immediately reply to an inquiry from The Epoch Times.
Scientists and physicians have raised concerns for many months of an overreliance on and a misuse of the PCR test as a diagnostic tool, since it can’t differentiate between a live infectious virus and an inactivated virus fragment that isn’t infectious.
Additionally, the high cycle threshold values of most PCR tests—at 40 cycles or higher—increases the risk of false positives. A higher threshold value indicates less viral load and that the person is less likely to be infectious, while a person with a lower cycle threshold value has a higher viral load, or is more infectious.
The WHO didn’t specify what the threshold value cutoff should be for a positive diagnosis, but said to only “determine if [a] manual adjustment of the PCR positivity threshold is recommended by the manufacturer.”
However, it clarified that when the prevalence of the CCP virus is low, “the risk of false positive increases,” meaning that “the probability that a person who has a positive result (SARS-CoV-2 detected) is truly infected with SARS-CoV-2 decreases as prevalence decreases, irrespective of the claimed specificity [of the PCR test].”
SARS-CoV-2 is the scientific name for the CCP virus, which causes the disease COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says its PCR tests have a cycle threshold cutoff of 40 cycles. The federal agency finally included information on cycle threshold value in its Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 for laboratories on Nov. 12, 2020.
But many medical experts consider a threshold value cutoff of 40 cycles to only return false positives, since samples that go through many amplification cycles will pick up negligible RNA sequences regardless of whether the virus is inactivated or the viral load is so exceedingly low it doesn’t pose any problem.
Prior to the CCP virus pandemic, for individuals to be considered a case, they must test positive and show clinical signs and symptoms. But to be counted as a CCP virus case, only a positive PCR test is required. And no matter how many times an individual is tested, each positive test is counted as a separate case.
The WHO is now advising that a positive PCR test that does “not correspond with the clinical presentation” should be verified by taking “a new specimen” and retesting it.
This advice may also help lower CCP virus cases in hospitals as it more clearly defines who is considered a hospitalized case.
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) Director of International Relations Dr. Layla McCay confirmed to talkRADIO that a percentage of hospitalized patients officially counted as positive cases were actually being treated for different illnesses not related to COVID-19. They had only tested positive for the disease at the hospital without displaying any symptoms.
Dr Layla McCay, NHS Confederation director, confirms to Julia that the hospital figures for “Covid patients” include patients who are not being treated for Covid but have simply tested positive while being treated for something else.@JuliaHB1 | @LaylaMcCay pic.twitter.com/xSud6LW13M
— talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) January 5, 2021
“It is correct that in hospital, people who tested positive for COVID will be the full range of symptoms,” McCay said. “Some will have it as an aside to some other problem for which they’re in the hospital.”
The day after the WHO released its new guidance, Chief Medical Adviser to President Joe Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said the United States would rejoin the organization.
“As such, I am honored to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization,” Fauci said. “Yesterday, President Biden signed letters retracting the previous administration’s announcement to withdraw from the organization, and those letters have been transmitted to the secretary-general of the United Nations and to you Dr. Tedros, my dear friend.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is the director-general of the WHO.
“The United States also intends to fulfill its financial obligations to the organizations,” Fauci added.
In July last year, the Trump administration pulled out of the WHO over its alleged role in helping the Chinese communist regime cover up the severity of the CCP virus.
There have been mixed responses from Congress over Biden’s decision to rejoin the WHO.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) introduced a bill (pdf) on Jan. 21 to “prohibit the availability of United States contributions to the World Health Organization until Congress receives a full report on China and the COVID-19 pandemic, and for other purposes.”
She said in a statement: “The WHO is China-centric and panders to Beijing at every turn. There is no reason U.S. taxpayers should contribute more than $400 million annually to an organization that covered for China and failed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Prior to former President Donald Trump withdrawing from the WHO, the United States was the biggest financial contributor to the health agency, according to State Department statistics.