What Happened: 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. (source)
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.