While CNN and other media outlets picked up on Dr. Debora Birx’s lashing out against Americans for not wearing masks, reporters overlooked one comment the White House Coronavirus Task Force member made on incorrect testing.
In an interview on October 28 with North Dakota radio host, Scott Hennen, Birx agreed that PCR tests are unable to distinguish between the active infectious virus and viral debris.
“That is why we’re talking about a mix of tests, and that’s why we’ve been shipping out to states like North Dakota these antigen tests so that more individuals can get tested and then you can use the PCR as a confirmatory of test positive if needed,” said Birx.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against retesting people who test positive on the PCR test because it can pick up pieces of the virus later on when the individual is no longer infectious. “It is no longer needed and it’s medically unnecessary,” Admiral Brett Giroir, M.D. stated at a briefing July 16.
“The trouble is, many states are doing the exact opposite,” noted the Committee to Unleash Prosperity regarding Birx’s comment. “They are treating antigen positives as definitive but requiring PCR confirmation of antigen *negatives*. Even though antigen-negative/PCR positive almost always indicates old, dead non-infectious virus.”
The antigen test can be performed rapidly and while it can be far less accurate than the PCR test, experts like Michael Mina, M.D., a professor of epidemiology at Harvard, says it is sensitive enough to pick up the most infectious cases, a key in controlling a pandemic.