Unique symptoms, antigens, genetic code, and testing accuracy for antigens and genetic code for SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19

Marc Horn made this Freedom of Information request to Public Health England

Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

Public Health England did not have the information requested.

Dear Public Health England,

Based upon previous responses to my FOI the standard response is
"...it has long been known that viral diseases cannot be identified in this way as viruses cannot be grown in ‘pure culture’.
When a patient is tested for a viral illness, this is normally done by looking for the presence of antigens, or viral genetic code in a host with molecular biology techniques"

Accordingly please provide a full, accurate and complete list of records held within your office, and / or under your authority, supporting the following claims;

1 - Which symptoms uniquely identify COVID-19?
2 - Which viral antigens uniquely identify COVID-19?
3 - Which viral genetic code uniquely identifies SARS-Cov-2?
4 - What is the accuracy of the testing method for unique COVID-19 antigens upon which those governing rely upon, with supporting scientific verification?
5 - What is the accuracy of the testing method for unique SARS-Cov-2 genetic code upon which those governing rely upon, with supporting scientific verification?
6 - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/high-consequ...
shows updates detailing the explanation of the removal of COVID-19 from the HCID list was on the version dated 21 March 2019. However there is no link to the source document.
Please provide source document from "the 4 nations public health HCID group..." that supported the decision that " As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the UK.".

If any records match the above description and are available to the public elsewhere, please provide enough information so that I may identify and access each record with certainty (i.e. title, author(s), date, journal, and weblink or location where the public may access it).
I remind you full, accurate and complete disclosure is required.

Yours faithfully,

Marc Horn

FOI, Public Health England

Dear Marc Horn

We acknowledge receipt of your email and request for information, which will be treated as a request for information under statutory access legislation.

Please note that requests under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) will receive a response within 20 working days from the day following the date of receipt of your request.

If the request is for your personal data, your request has been handled as a data subject access request (SAR) under Article 15 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), then we will respond within one month of the receipt of the request.

Public Health England (PHE) is responsible for providing guidance and advice to government and front-line services for all aspects of public health. It is a designated Category 1 responder organisation under the Civil Contingency Act and this specifically includes the COVID-19 response, providing clinical expertise and wider public health advice and guidance across national and local government, the NHS and third sector. As such, you may experience delays when making statutory information access requests during the pandemic.

We will aim to address all requests promptly and within the required response timeframes. However when we are unable to meet the response timeframe we will keep requesters updated on a revised expected timescale for a response to their request. The Information Commissioner recognises this position in its recent guidance, see link: https://ico.org.uk/global/data-protectio....

FOI Team
Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[Public Health England request email]
www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

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FOI, Public Health England

Dear Marc Horn

 

Further to your request for information, we would be grateful for you to
clarify the following:

 

4 - What is the accuracy of the testing method for unique COVID-19
antigens upon which those governing rely upon, with supporting scientific
verification?

Can you clarify that the testing method is the antibody test or a
molecular test (PCR)?

 

5 - What is the accuracy of the testing method for unique SARS-Cov-2
genetic code upon which those governing rely upon, with supporting
scientific verification?

Can you clarify that the testing method is a molecular test (PCR)?

 

We must advise you under section 1(3) of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 we are under no obligation to comply with your request, until such
time as we receive clarification from you. 

 

FOI Team

Public Accountability Unit

Public Health England

[Public Health England request email]

Tel: 020 8327 6920 

www.gov.uk/phe   Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

 

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Dear FOI,

Further to your response dated 1 September 2020 requesting clarification in regards points 4 and 5 I reply as follows to your questions;
4 - What is the accuracy of the testing method for unique COVID-19
antigens upon which those governing rely upon, with supporting scientific
verification?
YOUR QUESTION: Can you clarify that the testing method is the antibody test or a
molecular test (PCR)?
ANSWER - YOU ARE THE TESTING AUTHORITY RELYING UPON THE INFORMATION AND IF YOU ARE NOT YET AWARE THAT ANTIGENS ARE TESTED WITH "ANTIBODY TESTS" THEN HEAVEN HELP US!!!
so just in case - my question relates to antibody test, and not PCR test.

5 - What is the accuracy of the testing method for unique SARS-Cov-2
genetic code upon which those governing rely upon, with supporting
scientific verification?
YOUR QUESTION: Can you clarify that the testing method is a molecular test (PCR)?
ANSWER - AGAIN YOU ARE THE TESTING AUTHORITY RELYING UPON THE INFORMATION AND IF YOU ARE NOT YET AWARE THEN HEAVEN HELP US!!!
so just in case - my question relates to PCR test.

Yours sincerely,

Marc Horn

FOI, Public Health England

1 Attachment

Dear Marc Horn

Please find attached Public Health England's response to your request.

FOI Team
Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[Public Health England request email]
www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

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Dear Public Health England,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Public Health England's handling of my FOI request 'Unique symptoms, antigens, genetic code, and testing accuracy for antigens and genetic code for SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19'.

Your response does not contain the claimed information detailed as follows;

1 - Which symptoms uniquely identify COVID-19?
PHE can confirm it does hold this information. However, the information is exempt under section 21 of the FOI Act because it is reasonably accessible by other means. For your convenience, we have included the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collection...
NO UNIQUE SYMPTOMS WERE FOUND - YOU HAVE FAILED TO PROVIDE A FULL ACCURATE AND COMPLETE RESPONSE TO MY REQUEST - IN BREACH OF THE FRAUD ACT 2006, section 2 - fraud by false representation and section 3 following your admission failing to disclose information.

2 - Which viral antigens uniquely identify COVID-19?
3 - Which viral genetic code uniquely identifies SARS-Cov-2?
Genome structure and organisation define a corona virus. These are large RNA viruses and as a result there are many different proteins/antigens which are unique to corona viruses. Most commercial companies will reveal the gene targets they use to uniquely identify the SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in their tests although some do not as it is privileged information. Currently the in-house PCR performed at PHE, Virus Reference Unit
uses the orf1 ab gene. Further information is available at the below link:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
THIS DOES NOT PROVIDE THE REQUESTED INFORMATION - YOU HAVE FAILED TO PROVIDE A FULL ACCURATE AND COMPLETE RESPONSE TO MY REQUEST - IN BREACH OF THE FRAUD ACT 2006, section 2 - fraud by false representation and section 3 following your admission failing to disclose information.
Please provide the requested information within 3 days.

4 - What is the accuracy of the testing method for unique COVID-19 antigens
upon which those governing rely upon, with supporting scientific verification
5 - What is the accuracy of the testing method for unique SARS-Cov-2 genetic
code upon which those governing rely upon, with supporting scientific
verification?
PHE can confirm it does hold this information. However, the information is exempt under section 21 of the FOI Act because it is reasonably accessible by other means. PHE has conducted scientific evaluations of serological assays for the suitability of detecting COVID-19 antibodies. This information is available at the below link:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
UNTIL YOU HAVE PROVIDED A FULL ACCURATE AND COMPLETE RESPONSE TO 2 AND 3 THIS IS UNSUPPORTED - PLEASE RESPOND TO 2 AND 3.

Information in my question 6 has been adequately responded to

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u...

As a leading authority if this is the quality of evidence upon which you make your decisions and recommendation regarding public health this is criminal fraud

URGENTLY PROVIDE THE REQUESTED INFORMATION WITHIN 7 DAYS WHICH IS PROPORTIONATE TO THE URGENCY AND INADEQUACY OF YOUR RESPONSE

Yours faithfully,

Marc Horn

FOI, Public Health England

Dear Marc Horn

We acknowledge receipt of your email, which will be treated as a request for an internal review, following your requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please note we aim to complete your internal review within 20 working days from the day following the date of receipt of your request. We will notify you if we anticipate the internal review taking longer than 20 working days.

Kind Regards

FOI Team
Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[Public Health England request email]
Tel: 020 8327 6920
www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

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FOI, Public Health England

2 Attachments

  • Attachment

    1467 IR Linked to 1107 Records on testing of COVID 19.pdf

    142K Download View as HTML

  • Attachment

    Freedom of Information request Unique symptoms antigens genetic code and testing accuracy for antigens and genetic code for SARS CoV 2 and COVID 19.txt

    4K Download View as HTML

Dear Marc Horn,

Please find attached Public Health England's response to your request. Please accept our apologies for the delay in our response. PHE has been handling a high volume of requests due to the pandemic.

FOI Team
Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[Public Health England request email]
Tel: 020 8327 6920
www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

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Bartholomeus Lakeman left an annotation ()

FOI #687489 requests 2 - Which viral antigens uniquely identify COVID-19? 3 - Which viral genetic code uniquely identifies SARS-Cov-2? 4 - What is the accuracy of the testing method for unique COVID-19 antigens upon which those governing rely upon, with supporting scientific verification? 5 - What is the accuracy of the testing method for unique SARS-Cov-2 genetic code upon which those governing rely upon, with supporting scientific verification?

Under section 21 – PHE provided with advice and assistance under section 162 of the FOIA by including the following links to the information specified “Evaluation of access SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay for detection of Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies". It includes PHE researched/check-up of the sensitivity and clinical specificity of 7 different kits for an AccessSARS-CoV-2 IgG assay, manufactured by e.g. Beckman Coulter, Siemens, La Roche, Abbots, Ortho.
For to determine the clinical sensitivity and specificity, samples were acquired from France, the USA and the UK; mostly from blood donors, of which most were sourced prior Dec. 2019 (covid-19 test kits were bought since 2017); diagnosed as a covid-19 case by PCR tests from France and the US.
PHE given limitations of these assays are: (1) A reactive test result (as that of the PCR test) does not exclude past or present infection by other coronaviruses, such as SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV, HKU1, 229E, NL63, or OC43, or due to cross-reactivity from pre-existing antibodies or other possible causes, (2) a nonreactive test result does not exclude the possibility of exposure to or infection with SARS-CoV-2–patient specimens may be nonreactive if collected during the early (pre-seroconversion) phase of illness or due to a decline in titre over time; (3) the immune response may be depressed in elderly, immunocompromised, or immunosuppressed patients, (4) heterophilic antibodies in serum samples may cause interference in immunoassays. These antibodies may be present in blood samples from individuals regularly exposed to animals or who have been treated with animal serum products e.g. vaccine. Results that are inconsistent with clinical observations indicate the need for additional testing, (5) a non-reactive result can occur if the quantity of antibodies for the SARS-CoV-2 virus present in the specimen is below the detection limit of the assay, or the virus has undergone minor amino acid mutation(s) in the epitope recognized by the antibody detected by the test, (6) the results obtained with this test should only be interpreted in conjunction with clinical findings, and the results from other laboratory tests and evaluations: yet none of these are known to be specific for covid-19

Whereas the above given limitations include most scenarios of real life; it shows that unknown are (2 & 3) COVID-19 and SARS-Cov-2 uniquely viral antigens, (4 & 5) the accuracy of the testing method for unique COVID-19 and SARS-Cov-2 antigens upon which those governing rely upon, with supporting scientific verification.
Moreover, regarding Covid-19 PHE cannot show scientific evidences which support the Govt. statements and measures.