Every day, the news tells us about new COVID-19 positive test results. But are they reliable?
Kary Mullis, the late inventor of the diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19, explained how his test could be misused. So did a Portuguese court that ruled a positive test is an insufficient basis to isolate or quarantine anybody.
Mullis won the 1993 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. He died in August 2019, months before it would be used to diagnose SARS-CoV-2. Regardless, his weighty words remain.
“The PCR, if you do it well, … can find almost anything in anybody,” Mullis once said. “If you can amplify one single molecule up to something you can really measure, then there (are) very few molecules that you don’t have at least one … of in your body. … So that could be thought of as a misuse of it.”