Late last month the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention lowered the cycle threshold standard for COVID-19 tests to determine if someone caught the virus after being vaccinated. CDC moved the cycle threshold from 35 cycles to 28 — but only for tracking so-called “vaccine breakthrough” cases.

The stated reason is to avoid false positives in order not to discourage people from being vaccinated.

The Sentinel earlier this week contacted the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and every county health department in the state asking about CT standards.

Specifically, the Sentinel asked the county health departments:

  • What is the current Cycle Threshold for the most commonly-used COVID-19 test in your jurisdiction?
  • In January of this year, the CDC recommended CT be reduced to 35 cycles to avoid false positives. Did your testing facilities follow the CDC guidance at that time? If not, why not?
  • Given that – as noted above – any virus detected with a CT over 30 is almost certainly meaningless, will you reduce overall testing to 28 cycles? If not, why not?

Only three out of 100 county health departments responded. The Sentinel received delivered, read, or bounce notices for every email sent.

Butler County, Ness County, and the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Departments all replied to the email, all referring the Sentinel to KDHE — which also has not responded to questions about CT.

Cycle threshold explained

The cycle threshold is — roughly — the number of times a bit of genetic matter must be copied by the testing equipment to determine how infectious a given individual is. The higher the cycle threshold needed to identify COVID, the lower the viral load. Some virologists say results above 35 cycles are “false positives” because they are only detecting dead nucleotides and are not contagious.

However, as Blaze Media reporter Daniel Horowitz reported, last August the New York Times discovered that in Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests (the type of genetic test commonly used) with CT’s over 30 tended to net false positives. Moreover, many labs nationwide — and in Kansas — were using CTs over 40 cycles — almost guaranteed to pick up genetic material from a coronavirus.

Indeed, in November of last year the Director of the National Institute of Allery and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, noted cycle thresholds were likely too high.

“If you get a cycle threshold of 35 or more, the chances of it being replication-competent are minuscule,” Fauci said at roughly the four-minute mark of this video. “‘Replication competent” means particles capable of infecting cells and replicating to produce additional infectious particles.

Moreover, as Horowitz pointed out:

“Almost eight months ago, the New York Times reported that cultures detected in 27 to 34 CTs seldom reveal any live virus, and specimens detected above 34 CTs never show any live virus. Most research shows that any virus that is detected only through a CT level above 25, and certainly above 30, is very likely to be a false or meaningless positive. This is why a Portuguese judge recently ruled that any positive test that used more than 25 cycle thresholds is not reliable and cannot be used to force quarantine.”

In January of this year, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment quietly reduced the cycle threshold on its most commonly used PCR test from 42 to 35.

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