Healthcare/Biosafety

Is the coronavirus test dangerous?

18 August, 2020

On August 11, “True  stories”, the “Obieqtivi” TV company program, aired a story about two citizens, who returned from France and refused to take a PCR test after a two-week quarantine. The television also covered the comment of the citizens’ father Kakhaber Kapanadze. According to him, people became ill after the testing, and his children, who returned from France were scared because of this and refused to take the test. He also noted that artificial infection of people through the tests took place in Spain and England and therefore he distrusts “Chinese infected” tests. 

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Obieqtivi, Kakhaber Kapanadze, citizen: „People were being artificially infected in Spain and England, so we do not suspect anyone, we respect our government, but we have a fair doubt and we do not trust these Chinese infected tests.“

The story, which presents only one party’s position, also contains the comment of deacon Giorgi Asatiani, who states that the young people are healthy and there is no need for intervention.

The respondent’s statement on “Obieqtivi”, as if Covid-19 test poses threat to human health and people were being artificially infected in Spain and England through tests, is a disinformation. In the process of taking a smear for the PCR test, it is impossible to damage brain membrane and the vascular barrier with swab sticks. The population in Spain and England has not been infected during testing. The only problem with tests was their accuracy. 

  • PCR test procedure is not dangerous to health, since it is impossible to damage brain membrane and the vascular barrier with swab sticks.

Is it dangerous to take a PCR test? 

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), molecular test (PCR test) is usually done by taking nasal or oral smear, or in some cases - saliva sample. 

Theoretically, in the process of sampling, only the blood-brain barrier (brain membrane and vascular barrier) damage would endanger the health, which is unthinkable within this procedure. 

According to the BBC, in order for the swab stick to reach the blood-brain barrier, it must pass several bony, various tissue layers and blood vessels. Each of them protects the mentioned barrier and its damage with a swab becomes practically impossible.

Dr. Liz Coulthard, a member of the British Neuroscience Association Council, stated, that in neurology practice, no complications from the COVID-19 swabs have taken place.

Factcheck AFP spoke on this subject to John Dwyer, an immunologist and professor at the University of New South Wales, who stated, that the swab is not placed on the blood-brain barrier and accordingly, does not pose any threat to it or to our nervous system.

According to John Mathews, an epidemiologist at the University of Melbourne, taking a smear from nose or throat for testing on viruses or laboratory analysis has been going on for years and is an approved practice. 

Disinformation, as if the tests are dangerous and can cause certain health problems has been virally spread in the Western social media. The BBC, factcheck AFP and Reuters published materials to refute this disinformation.

What is the PCR test?

RT-PCR molecular test is one of the tests used to determine the presence of coronavirus in the body. It is also called the gold standard. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), through it, it is possible to diagnose active coronavirus and it is distinguished with high accuracy.

As for the procedure itself, the FDA has also published the 7-step process of conducting a molecular test, which is as follows:

  1. All COVID-19 tests, including those used with a home collection kit, should be prescribed by a doctor, pharmacist or other health expert. 
  2. You or a health care expert take a specialized swab and collect mucus from nose or throat.
  3. You or health care expert put the swab in a sterile container and seal it for transportation to a laboratory.
  4. Temperature control is necessary during transportation to ensure the accuracy of the test. The sample must arrive at the laboratory within 72 hours.
  5. A laboratory technician mixes chemicals with the swab to extract the genetic material of any virus. 
  6. The laboratory technician uses special chemicals (pimers and probes), and a high-tech machine to conduct several controlled heating and cooling cycles, that convert the virus’s RNA into DNA. Then, millions of copies of the DNA are made. It should be noted that some tests need only one warming cycle to make copies of the DNA.
  7. When DNA links to specific probes, a special type of light is produced that the machine can see, and the test shows a “positive” result for infection with SARS-CoV-2.
  • The information about “infected tests” in Great Britain does not mean that people involved in the test were infected. It was about the test tube and the test sample and it reflected the accuracy of the test. In Spain, the problem with the tests was the low accuracy of the product obtained during one of the orders, rather than the infection of the population.

Are the people in Spain and England being artificially infected when tested?

The information about infected tests was also spread virally in the Western social media. In particular, the talk was about test kits sent by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, that were contaminated with coronavirus during pre-testing phases. Though mentioned problem hindered the process of testing in the US, the tests have not infected people. This is also evidenced in the article published by Reuters. 

There was an identical problem with this test in Great Britain as well. According to the Daily Telegraph, in March, the UK found that test tubes and the samples ordered for Eurofins, a Luxemburg-based firm, were contaminated and did not show the correct results when diagnosing Covid-19. It should be noted that the test tubes and the samples have no contact with the testing participants.  

Like in the USA, this issue has hampered the testing process, although it has not caused infection of the people involved in testing. 

In case of Spain, the test-related problem was the low accuracy of the tests (30%) produced by one of the Chinese companies, after the discovery of which Spain no longer used these tests. 


Prepared by Tamar Chkhartishvili 
Myth Detector Lab