Lateral Flow Tests

Covid Test Swabs Found Contaminated With Aluminium, Silicon and Dangerous Chemicals

A public sector trade union in Cyprus has called for the suspension of rapid lateral flow tests after analysis found multiple times the permissible trace level of ethylene oxide.

The analysis by Cyprus-based Food Allergens Lab found 0.36 mg/kg of ethylene oxide in one swab, over seven times the limit of 0.05 mg/kg imposed by E.U. regulations.

According to the European Chemicals Agency, ethylene oxide is toxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic, including when inhaled. It is used to coat and sterilise PCR and rapid test nasal swabs.

A separate analysis by A-D Research Foundation in California found aluminum and silicon at concentrations as high as 7.25% and 14.06% respectively in some spots on PCR test swabs. The author, Peter Grandics, explains that aluminum and silicon can both be hazardous to health, and suggests this may explain the “rapid-onset nasal bleed and strong and lasting adverse reactions reported by the tested individuals”.

It follows concerns about why the bristles in LFT swabs so easily break away and remain in the body, as shown in this video.

As reported in the Daily Sceptic in August, Professor Anthony Brookes and Dr Kees Straatman from the University of Leicester put some material from a LFT swab under a powerful laser microscope and sent us the videos showing what they found. They explained:

Why Are the LFT Swab Bristles Tube-like and Why Do They Stay in Your Body?

A few months ago, some people had a closer look at the swabs typically provided for carrying out lateral flow tests and wondered why the bristles broke away so easily and remained in your body. Here’s a good video demonstrating the issue.

One oddity was that the bristles appeared to be like tubes, and this raised the question of whether they were hollow, and what might be inside them.

Intrigued by the unusual composition of the swabs, Professor Anthony Brookes and Dr Kees Straatman from the University of Leicester put some material from one under a powerful laser microscope. The videos below show what they found. They explain:

To shed further light on the bristle structure of the swabs provided in LFD testing kits, we examined examples via confocal microscopy. The bristles were easy to separate from the swab itself, about 15 micrometres in diameter (the size of a large nucleus in a human cell), and clearly comprised an outer tube layer with an inner filling. The inner material does not seem to exude or flow or deviate from a cylindrical shape when the bristles are dissected, and so we would provisionally conclude this inner material is solid or semi-solid in nature.

Why Have Professionals Outsourced Their Decision-Making to Scientists?

We’re publishing an original article today by Dr Sinéad Murphy, a Research Associate in Philosophy at Newcastle University, about the descent into unreason prompted by an over-reliance on scientific advice. She begins by lamenting the fact that her autistic son has been sent home from school – again.

When I went to pick up Joseph from school, I was received at a side gate by two members of staff, the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator, and the Deputy Head who also happens to be the Head of Science. Overseeing the exclusion of a disabled child on the grounds that a classmate or young teacher had received a positive result in a notoriously inaccurate test for the presence of a virus whose lethality for children and young teachers is statistically zero, were the two staff members in whom the school entrusts the promotion of respect for and aptitude in science, and the welfare of its disabled children – in a state of madness like ours, such ironies proliferate.

There they were, the advocates for science and disability, ready to escort the children out of the classroom by the shortest possible route; seven-year-olds who had carelessly gambolled in the front door that morning were now deemed such biological hazards that they could not be suffered to pass through the school corridors as they departed.

There they were, the school’s specially appointed guardians of reason and humanity, standing outside in the northern sunshine with masks covering their faces.

Worth reading in full.

FDA Tells People to Throw Innova Lateral Flow Tests in the Bin

The American Food and Drug Agency (FDA) says the performance of the Innova-manufactured lateral flow test – the one in use across Britain, including in schools – has not been proven to be reliable and, for that reason, the test should either be returned to the manufacturer or thrown in the bin. The Guardian has more.

The FDA has raised significant concerns about the rapid Covid test on which the U.K. Government has based its multibillion-pound mass testing programme.

In a scathing review, the US health agency suggested the performance of the test had not been established, presenting a risk to health, and that the tests should be thrown in the bin or returned to the California-based manufacturer Innova.

In the UK, these lateral flow Innova tests form the cornerstone of Operation Moonshot, the mass-testing scheme championed by the prime minister’s former chief adviser. The idea was that the ability to deliver results within 30 minutes – without the need for processing in a laboratory – provided a cheap, pragmatic and efficient way to identify people who had caught the virus but not fallen ill. But critics have raised concerns about accuracy.

Given the tests have been offered free to millions in England, for use at home or at test centres, workplaces and schools, with the aim of detecting more cases, breaking chains of transmission and saving lives since April, the FDA announcement is particularly damning.

The US agency has not authorised the use of the Innova test in the US, although the manufacturer has submitted a request for authorisation. But when the FDA discovered the Innova test was being distributed for US use regardless, it conducted an inspection of Innova’s medical device operations between March and April 2021.

In its report, the agency accused the company of “false or misleading” estimates of the clinical performance of certain configurations of the test, saying the estimates did not accurately reflect the performance of the diagnostic devices during clinical studies.

The FDA also highlighted that the clinical study data submitted by Innova as part of its request for US authorisation was identical to data previously provided by other manufacturers in separate requests.

Worth reading in full.

More False Positives Than True Positives in the First Two Weeks of School Testing

A member of SAGE warned back in February that the return of unvaccinated children to the classroom would create a “significant risk of a resurgence” of Covid infections. This was not the case – only 0.06% of rapid Covid tests of students produced positive results in the week that schools reopened. But how many of these results were actually positive? Professor Jon Deeks, a biostatistician from the University of Birmingham, said in March: “We would expect far more false positives than true positives amongst those testing positive in schools.” New data from the Department of Health and Social Care has now confirmed that more false positive results were produced than true positives in the first two weeks of school testing.

Department of Health and Social Care

This data, as Professor Deeks points out, is a damning indictment of the use of rapid Covid testing in schools and has resulted in many children having to isolate at home unnecessarily – with their classmates often being sent home too. (At one stage, more than 200,000 schoolchildren were having to self-isolate, forcing them to miss out on much-needed catch-up work in classes.)

[The] proportion[s] false were 62% and 55% in these two weeks.

Of 2,304 positive tests, 1,353 were likely false, with one positive per 6,900 tests done.

The use of PCR tests to confirm or (in more cases) deny lateral flow test results is itself a strange choice, as Lockdown Sceptics’ Will Jones points out, and could mean that the true impact of rapid testing in schools is even worse than this data suggests.

It is interesting that they assume confirmation from a PCR test defines true and false positives, even though PCR tests are more sensitive than LFTs so are no less likely to give a positive from fragments or contamination. What if in some cases the PCR tests are just confirming the false positive of the lateral flow tests?

The British Medical Journal has been warning against the use of PCR tests for “case finding, mass screening, and disease surveillance” since last September (if not before):

PCR is not a test of infectiousness. Rather, the test detects trace amounts of viral genome sequence, which may be either live transmissible virus or irrelevant RNA fragments from previous infection. When people with symptoms or who have been recently exposed receive a positive PCR result they will probably be infectious. But a positive result in someone without symptoms or known recent exposure may be from live or dead virus, and so does not determine whether the person is infectious and able to transmit the virus to others.

Clearly, testing requirements for schools must now change. But the problem is not limited to the classroom. Professor Deeks says that false positive data should now be released for all forms of lateral flow testing.

Pepsi Max Tests Positive for COVID-19

There follows a guest post by Nic Elliott, host of the Sounding Board podcast.

I decided to order some lateral flow tests now that anyone can request to be regularly tested.

My aim – a simple testing of household available items to see what the results would be. The results are crazy.

  • 3 gave a negative result.
  • 1 gave a void.
  • But 3 out of the 7 tests gave a positive result.

I make that a false positive rate of 43%, or 50% if you remove the voided result from the sample.

First I tested water – that came up negative. Then some tea left in my teapot, also negative.

Then I decided to test my own saliva (but not a swab stuck anyone official). That was negative, and still no voided results in sight.

I decided at this point to get serious and brought out the Lee & Perrins. This did give a void result, so it was time to bring out the big guns.

Pepsi Max (other vegetable extract-based drinks are available) – positive for SARS-CoV-2!

Then milk – a very faint line, but still classed as a positive according my official NHS leaflet.

And finally, mango chutney, the third positive COVID-19 test result.

Obviously, I am not going to report these staggering results, but maybe I’m looking for a conspiracy in the wrong area… Maybe the real bombshell is that COVID-19 is being spread through cola, cow’s milk and curry condiments.

Mass Covid Testing a “Waste of Time and Money”, MPs Told

Biostatistics Professor Jon Deeks has criticised the Government’s mass Covid testing plan as a waste of “time and money”, highlighting that in some areas only one positive case has been found after 10,000 tests. Professor Deeks, a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Applied Health Research at Birmingham University, told the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus that there is “no evidence” to show mass testing works. He is quoted in the Telegraph:

“For this mass test, the Innova test, we have the Liverpool study and the University of Birmingham study, that’s a total of 78 cases where we know how well it detects (positive cases).

“That is absolutely outrageous that we are now testing the whole population based effectively on data from 78 people, which actually showed it doesn’t work very well…

“In the South West at the moment, I think we are down to 0.09% prevalence and that probably means we would be using 10,000 tests to find one case in the next few weeks.

“I don’t think that’s a good use of people’s time or money or public health capital to do that. There are far better things we could be doing.”

The APPG is chaired by Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who said: “[Mass testing] seems to be the panacea at the moment… [but] how reliable is it?”

Earlier this month, the Government promised twice-weekly Covid tests for everyone in England. Sky News had the story.

The Government says the offer is currently for England only and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will make their own decisions.

A major marketing campaign encouraging people to take up the offer of twice-weekly lateral flow tests will also start in England this Friday…

The programme is effectively the long-delayed “Operation Moonshot” of 10 million Covid tests a day, costing an estimated £100 billion, promised by Health Secretary Matt Hancock last summer.

When he told the Commons it would start as early as December, MPs laughed, prompting Mr Hancock to brand them “nay-sayers” and telling them to “get with the programme”.

Now the Government says that alongside vaccination, regular Covid testing will be an essential part of easing lockdown restrictions and help quickly suppress the spread of variants.

The Telegraph report is worth reading in full.