The CDC’s PCR check might be withdrawn after Dec. 31


The declare: CDC withdraws use of PCR check, admits it might probably’t distinguish between flu and COVID-19

A extensively shared declare on social media has introduced the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention’s determination to retire its PCR check for COVID-19 again into the highlight.

“CDC Withdraws Use of PCR Check for COVID and Lastly Admits the Check Can Not Differentiate Between the Flu and COVID Virus,” reads the screenshot of a Gateway Pundit headline posted on Instagram on Dec. 29.

The Gateway Pundit article, posted the identical day, refers back to the CDC’s determination in July to withdraw the PCR check in 2022 that the company created. The screenshot was preferred greater than 1,000 instances in lower than 24 hours. Different posts additionally obtained a whole lot of likes in just some hours.

However the declare badly mangles the info.

The CDC’s PCR check might be faraway from the listing of checks underneath emergency use authorization as a result of the demand for it has decreased with the authorization of different diagnostic checks – not as a result of it confuses viruses. Consultants say the check wouldn’t present false positives for COVID-19 if the particular person solely had the flu.

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USA TODAY reached out to the consumer who posted the declare and to Gateway Pundit for remark.

CDC’s PCR check doesn’t confuse COVID-19 and flu

The Gateway Pundit article claims the CDC admitted the soon-to-be-retired PCR check “can’t differentiate between the flu and COVID virus.”

It claimed flu instances had been so low in 2020, then, as a result of the check was counting flu instances as COVID-19. However that is nonsense. Gateway Pundit was misunderstanding using the time period differentiate.

In an August information launch, the CDC wrote the PCR check was particularly designed solely to detect the viral genetic materials of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 – not influenza, which causes the flu.

“It doesn’t detect influenza or differentiate between influenza and SARS-CoV-2,” the web site states.

In different phrases, it is not that the check cannot inform the 2 aside, it is that the check was designed solely to detect COVID-19. The CDC spelled this one by noting somebody with the flu wouldn’t create a false optimistic for COVID-19 with this check.

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Consultants advised USA TODAY in July it is “technically inconceivable” for the CDC’s PCR check to confuse SARS-CoV-2 and the influenza virus.

PCR checks establish and amplify transformed viral RNA till the virus’s genetic make-up will be detected and analyzed.

On this case, because the CDC’s PCR check was made to solely establish SARS-Cov-2, it can not detect or confuse the genetic sequences of one other virus akin to influenza, in keeping with Dr. Petros Giannikopoulos, medical director of the Progressive Genomics Institute’s COVID-19 testing consortium.

CDC withdrawing PCR check to give attention to different objectives

On July 21, the CDC introduced it might withdraw the request for an emergency use authorization for the agency-developed PCR check after Dec. 31.

The check might be eliminated as a result of the Meals and Drug Administration, which is in control of approving using medical gadgets and vaccines, has approved “a whole lot” of different COVID-specific checks much like the CDC’s, the company stated in an Aug. 2 clarification after the announcement sparked confusion.

“CDC started distributing the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus Actual-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel to fill a niche,” the discharge stated. “The huge availability of different SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic checks signifies that the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Actual-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel is now not filling an unmet want.”

The discontinuation, which solely applies to the CDC-manufactured check and never different diagnostic checks approved to be used by the FDA, would additionally let the CDC “focus its assets on public well being surveillance testing and different response actions,” in keeping with the discharge.

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Jasmine Reed, a CDC spokeswoman, advised USA TODAY in July the company additionally needed to encourage laboratories to start out utilizing checks that may detect the influenza virus and COVID-19 in the identical swab to preserve time and assets.

The CDC has its personal check that may detect and differentiate COVID-19 and the influenza A and B viruses. That check shouldn’t be being withdrawn.

USA TODAY reached out to the CDC for remark.

Our score: False

Primarily based on our analysis, we price FALSE the declare that the CDC withdrew using its PCR check and admitted it might probably’t distinguish between the flu and COVID-19. The CDC is withdrawing the check, but it surely has nothing to do with the flu. The agency-created PCR check merely is not wanted as a result of a whole lot of checks from non-public corporations have addressed this want and been authorised by the FDA. The CDC check correctly confirmed optimistic outcomes just for COVID-19; an individual with the flu couldn’t check optimistic for COVID-19 utilizing the CDC check, consultants say.

Our fact-check sources:

  • The Gateway Pundit, Dec. 29, Large. CDC Withdraws Use of PCR Check for COVID and Lastly Admits the Check Can Not Differentiate Between the Flue and COVID Virus 
  • CDC, July 21, Lab Alert: Adjustments to CDC RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 Testing
  • CDC, Aug. 2, Lab Alert: Clarifications concerning the Retirement of the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) Actual-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel
  • USA TODAY, July 29, Truth examine: CDC check does not conflate COVID-19 virus with influenza
  • CDC, Oct. 6, Multiplex Assay for Flu & SARS-CoV-2

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