The fact that the Corman et al. primers were given to testing companies (Labor Berlin, Tib Molbiol) and commercially sold as Light Mix diagnostic Test kits (LightMix® Modular SARS-CoV / COVID19, RdRp / LightMix®Modular SARS-CoV / COVID19, E-gene, TIB Molbiol, Roché diagnostics) and cemented into WHO guidelines prior to peer-review should concern everyone. This is ‘science by press-release’ where authoritative bodies (the WHO) are used to advertise a manuscript before it has seen proper peer-review. After the PCR protocol is pushed through the WHO, we additionally see a rushed 24 hour peer-review, while furthermore the authors being on the editorial board of the journal (Eurosurveillence) performing the review. This is a dangerous practice when undisclosed conflicts of interest (COIs) exist. It is now known to have produced erroneous results and contributed to global lockdowns.
In summary, the peer-reviewed literature on the defects of the Corman-Drosten primers is vast. While biases and errors may be understandable due to pandemic time constraints, those due to short-circuited peer review, conflicts of interest and regulatory capture at the WHO, should be condemned once they are identified. There is no way to maintain public trust in the scientific method and publication process when such errors affect millions of people’s clinical decisions and livelihoods.
To quarantine a patient, you must have evidence of existing infectiousness, not RNA from a past infection. The Corman-Drosten manuscript ignores this medical ethics question whilst also compromising the accelerated peer-review process by a gross failure to disclose financial conflicts of interest.
The authors’ premature escalation of their work to the WHO prior to peer review is alarming. The lab testing revenue and therefore conflicts of interest of various authors were not properly disclosed in the initial Eurosurveillance peer review. Had the journal been aware of the conflicts they may have placed more scrutiny on the review.
Likewise, we have not seen the authors exhibit the same urgency in updating the WHO regarding the reported false positives from the hastily reviewed Corman-Drosten paper. This raises important questions regarding the lab testing conflicts of interest of various authors.
Increased qPCR positivity amplifies testing revenue through follow-on track-and-trace testing revenue. This places public health and citizen freedom in direct conflict with heavily funded testing labs who clearly have financial interests in higher test positivity.
Even if the RT-qPCR test was optimal and had theoretically sensitivity and specificity of 100%, it is medical malpractice to use RT-qPCR and other rapid tests outside the need for specific antiviral therapy in symptomatic or severely ill hospitalised patients. Interpreting positive tests as ‘medical cases’ without consideration of internal controls and viral Ct with clinical context, nor consideration of other viruses or diseases that cause similar symptoms as COVID-19, enables politicians to practice medicine on entire populations. This lack of clinical integration has led to problems in the past.
Blind faith in a quick RT-qPCR-test has created a pseudo-epidemic…Addendum: Peer reviewed literature and preprints covering wet-lab experiments, in silico analysis of the Corman Drosten protocol-design, meta-data analysis on EuroSurveillance.org and further discussion