A viral video on Facebook promotes a number of false and potentially dangerous claims about tests for Covid-19. These claims have no evidence and should not be believed.
In the video, a British man claims “they are definitely putting something in the PCR tests” and shows viewers another video featuring an American woman holding what appear to be synthetic fibres in a pair of tweezers.
In this video, the woman warns people to “leave those damn tests alone” and claims: “They’re putting nanoparticles right into your head. I know this for a fact because this material, these fibres, these silvers fibres right here, these came out of my body. They’re called Morgellons [...] This is what the Covid Q-tip test is. [...] They’re alive. Look he’s trying to grab me. This is what they put in the head. This is their Covid test. They’re putting this right into the brain.”
The British man then continues to claim that this is the reason why the government has now introduced a rule that all people entering the UK need to have a negative coronavirus test result and warns that the tests themselves are a “new variant” that could make people seriously ill, affect their mental abilities or kill them, and so people should refuse to take them.
There is no evidence for any of these claims. If you have symptoms of Covid-19, or are asked to take a test, it is very important to take a test and self-isolate if you test positive.
As the name suggests, nanoparticles are very small units, which are found in the natural world and can be man-made, and are often used in medicine. In a longer version of the American video, the woman claims the fibres are nanoparticles. However, this can’t be true as nanoparticles cannot be seen with the naked eye. Some research has been done about whether nanoparticles could be used to develop more efficient Covid-19 tests, but they are not part of the swab used in PCR tests.
PCR testing detects the presence of the genetic material in the SARS-CoV-2 virus (known as RNA). A sample is taken on a swab and when it reaches a laboratory, a solution is added to it and, if the virus is present, that solution creates billions of copies of the RNA so that it can be detected and produce a positive result. PCR tests do not insert nanoparticles or anything else into the human body besides the swab itself.
As of 20 January, almost 63 million coronavirus tests had been carried out in the UK. Although not all of these tests are PCR tests, even if just half of them were and they were a “new variant” and had the fatal repercussions warned of in the video, we would expect the Covid-19 death toll to be considerably higher than its current total of 93,290.
The claim that the test caused “silver fibres” to emerge from the American’s woman body, which she refers to as Morgellons, is also false. Morgellons disease is a controversial condition, where sufferers report symptoms including fibres sprouting from under the skin and a crawling sensation under the skin. However, it is hotly debated as to whether Morgellons—which was first reported in the modern era in 2001 in America and is largely self-diagnosed—is actually a physical disease rather than a delusion. A large study into the condition by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US found “no common underlying medical condition or infectious source was identified, similar to more commonly recognised conditions such as delusional infestation”.
Whether or not Morgellons is real, no link has been made or found between Morgellons and Covid tests. Reuters has done a fact check of the entire American video here, and found it to be false.