On May 21-22, Facebook users Tina Topuria, Shore Shanidze, and Davit Giorgobiani published posts about Sweden stopping the use of PCR tests because tests cannot distinguish between live and dead viruses and provide misleading results.
As a source of information, the authors of the posts refer to the article published on the webpage williambowles.info, whose title indicates that Sweden stops the use of PCR tests. The webpage’s article provides the July 21, 2020 statement from the Swedish Public Health Agency.
Information alleging that Sweden stopped the use of PCR tests to diagnose coronavirus is disinformation. In the Swedish Public Health Agency’s statement that Facebook users refer to as a source, it’s written that PCR tests cannot determine if a person is contagious or not. Nothing is mentioned about stopping the use of tests. According to the information on the aforesaid agency's webpage, PCR, antigen, and antibody tests are continued to be used in Sweden.
Authors of the published posts refer to the williambowles.info blog’s article as a source, whose title indicates that Sweden stops the use of PCR tests to diagnose coronavirus. In the article itself, the July 21, 2020 statement from the Swedish Public Health Agency is provided without any changes. The agency’s statement doesn’t say that Sweden refuses to use PCR tests. The agency’s statement notes that PCR tests cannot distinguish between viruses capable of infecting cells and viruses that have been neutralized by the immune system and that’s why this technology cannot be used to determine if someone’s contagious or not.
In the latest statement update, it’s noted that the issue was discussed at a meeting on 19 April 2021 due to the new virus variants, however, it was assessed that no update was needed for the recommendation.
The COVID-19 testing section, updated on May 24, on the webpage of the Swedish Public Health Agency, notes that the testing, including PCR tests, is conducted as usual. It’s written on the webpage that a positive test result from a self-test needs to be confirmed through a PCR test. Moreover, the guideline for the use of PCR tests to diagnose COVID-19 was published on the Swedish Public Health Agency webpage on September 24, 2020. In the document, it’s noted that test sensitivity plays a significant role in the reliable results of PCR tests. The guideline also provides statistics – per the data on the PCR tests administered to 10 000 people, the test's analytical sensitivity is 99%.
See Myth Detector’s article on the topic:
What does the WHO say about PCR tests?
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