While widely reporting on Dr. Debora Birx’s lashing out against Americans for not wearing masks, CNN and other media outlets overlooked a comment Birx, a White House Coronavirus Task Force member, made indicating states are relying on the wrong test for coronavirus.
In an interview on October 28 with North Dakota radio host Scott Hennen, Birx acknowledged 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 the test 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. said at a briefing on July 16.
“The trouble is, many states are doing the exact opposite,” stated 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 although it can be far less accurate than the PCR test, Michael Mina, M.D., a professor of epidemiology at Harvard University, says it is sensitive enough to pick up the most infectious cases, a key in controlling a pandemic.