Bartholomeus Lakeman

Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

This is a request for information pursuant s.1 Freedom of Information Act ACT 2000.

Does the DHSC have a record of:
1) Matt Hancock attending (on 23 Jan ‘20) the pandemic preparedness meeting (see a) in which the Corman- Drösten paper was accepted?
2) The implemention of the Covid PCR tests was this due to said Corman- Drösten paper “Detection of 2019 novel Coronavirus or was it due to another paper about the RT PCR test?
3) Did the Govt scientific advisers, MHRA or SAGE discuss or assess said paper -or another paper recommending said PCR test? And if so; which paper?
4) Prior implementing said PCR test on the UK population: Did said advisers for the DHSC or the Cabinet exercise a point-by-point review, or a cross-check on said Corman-Drösten paper or on the other paper recommending said PCR test?
5) Did the publication of ‘Summary catalogue of errors found’ (see b) made said Govt- advisers aware of said PCR test errors? And as Science is a history of corrected mistakes: Did they and the DHSC review their advises on implementing a mass said PCR test? And if not; why would that not risk an over calculation of the Covid19 cases?
6) The Cabinet memorandum “Section 5 2020-2023 Key Treasury objectives for treasury and Home Office consideration 5b(i) and (ii)” (see c): Has this memorandum a relationship with implementing said PCR test a mass on the UK population? And if not: Why not?

a) On 24 Jan, at Davos was a meeting regarding the pandemic preparedness plan: it was decided that the Corman-Drösten PCR protocol is to be used in an estimated 70% of all PCR test kits worldwide and so in the UK. This decision was based on a paper called “Detection of 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by RT PCR” which was published on 23 Jan in ‘Euro Surveill’ by Prof Drösten et al: describing the de facto industry standard protocol for detection of SARSCoV2 by the PCR test; see https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/ articles/PMC6988269/. Published before any covid-19 virus isolate was available: it was based on in silico (theoretical) sequences of the viral genome: and to date no validation has been performed based on isolated SARS-CoV-2 viruses or full-length RNA thereof.

b) In light of all the consequences resulting from said Corman-Drösten paper for societies worldwide, a group of international independent researchers (e.g. P Borger, Prof. M Ohashi, M. Yeadon, K Corbett, T Binder) performed a point-by-point review of said paper in which (i) all components of the presented test design were cross checked, (ii) the RT-qPCR protocol-recommendations were assesses w.r.t. good laboratory practice, and (iii) parameters examined against relevant scientific literature covering the field.
Subsequently this team of top experts asked ‘Eurosurveill’ for the retraction of this protocol; see http://cormanDröstenreview.com/report/
Their summary catalogue of errors found in said Corman-Drösten paper making the PCR test unsuitable as a specific diagnostic tool to identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus; are:
1) There exists no specified reason to use the extremely high concentrations of primers in this protocol. Its described concentrations lead to increased nonspecific bindings and PCR product amplifications;
2) Its six unspecified wobbly positions will introduce an enormous variability in the real-world laboratory implementations of this test; the confusing nonspecific description in said paper is not suitable as a Standard Operational Protocol (SOP);
3) The test cannot discriminate between the whole virus and viral fragments. Therefore, the test cannot be used as a diagnostic for intact (infectious) viruses, making the test unsuitable to identify said virus and make inferences about the presence of an infection;
4) A difference of 10° C with respect to the annealing temperature ™ for primer pair (RdRp_SARSr_F and RdRp_SARSr_R);
5) A severe error is the omission of a Ct value at which a sample is considered positive and negative. This Ct value is also not found in follow-up submissions making the test unsuitable as a specific diagnostic tool (a Ct above 30 invalidates the PCR test);
6) The PCR products have not been validated at the molecular level. This fact makes the protocol useless as a specific diagnostic tool to identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus;
7) The PCR test contains neither a unique positive control to evaluate its specificity for SARS-CoV-2 nor a negative control to exclude the presence of other coronaviruses;
8) The test design in said paper is so vague and flawed that one can go in dozens of different directions; nothing is standardized and there is no SOP. This highly questions the scientific validity of the PCR test;
9) Said paper was not peer-reviewed when accepted for implementating the PCR test;
10) The authors of said paper served a undeclared conflicts of interest: C Drösten and C Reusken are on the editorial board of Eurosurveillance; V Corman & Drösten are affiliated with Labor Berlin operating in the realm of RT PCR-testing; O Landt is CEO of TIB-Molbiol; M Kaiser is senior researcher at GenExpress and at TIB-Molbiol, which was the first to produce PCR kits (Light Mix) based on the protocol published in the Corman-Drösten manuscript, and distributed these PCR-test kits before said paper was submitted.

c) Section 5 2020-2023 Key Treasury objectives for treasury and Home Office consideration 5b(i) and (ii). Damage to the wider economy is only achievable by imposing continuing measures to prevent trading amongst the commerce and service industries as a whole regardless of the size of organization. It is likely that strike action, and more likely, general public disorder will occur, which the government would struggle to crack down on without necessary financial sweeteners including generous benefit packages as proposed in Section 3a and 4 of the memorandum Emergency Financial Infrastructure. Any such disorder will be discouraged by a public health campaign that will bring on board a mixture of health information, analysis and data presented by Government and Independent institutions. All ministers will be complicit in the publication of the health directives using public and private media organizations. The names of considered independent institutions are outlined in Section 11b and 11c of the memorandum. The proposed media organizations are outlined in Section 11e”

Yours faithfully,
Bartholomeus Lakeman

FreedomofInformation, Department of Health and Social Care

Dear Dr Lakeman,

Thank you for your email.

As you are aware, the Freedom of Information Act only applies to recorded information such as paper or electronic archive material. As your correspondence asked for general information and explanations rather than requesting recorded information or documentation, it did not fall under the provisions of the Act. It will be answered as general correspondence in due course.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Team
Department of Health and Social Care

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Bartholomeus Lakeman

Dear FreedomofInformation,
This request under FOIA 2002 has 6 questions which the DHSC can simply answer by a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’: so, these questions do not ask for general information. And if the answer is a No; and yet there is some record of the question's content being discussed and refuted; then DHSC could give an explanation.
The actuality of - the evidence for- the 6 questions is indicated by its related footnotes a, b, and c: Indicating the likelihood that the DHSC has, in some form, a record of the content in the footnotes and/or the questions.
Whereas the en mass use of the PCR tests has a significant impact on every one of the public and as its use has been detrimental to many people’s lives: it is in the public interest that questions about the historical background of the PCR tests are answered, and DHSC has a case to answer.

In case the DHSC feels that some of these questions have to be more specified or differently formulated; I am keen to be of help in that. Yet in case the DHSC continues to refuse to answer any of these questions: then I request for an internal review.

Yours sincerely,
Bartholomeus Lakeman

FreedomofInformation, Department of Health and Social Care

Dear Dr Lakeman,

Thank you for your further email.

As you are aware, your correspondence did not meet the criteria of a freedom of information request and is therefore not subject to an internal review.

Please note that any further correspondence on this topic that is not a specific FOI request will be logged but may not receive a reply.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Team
Department of Health and Social Care

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Department of Health and Social Care

Our ref: DE-1301787
 
Dear Mr Lakeman,
 
Thank you for your correspondence of 4 February about COVID-19 tests. I
have been asked to reply.

The Freedom of Information Act only applies to recorded information such
as paper or electronic archive material.  As your correspondence asked for
general information, rather than requesting recorded information or
documentation, it did not fall under the provisions of the Act.

I am sorry I cannot be more helpful.

Yours sincerely,
 
Lucy Ogan
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health and Social Care
 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir