Fact check: No link between COVID-19 PCR tests, human cloning – USA TODAY

by | Dec 16, 2022 | COVID-19

The claim: COVID-19 PCR tests are human cloning technologyResearchers often call the polymerase chain reaction test – known as the PCR test – “the gold standard” for detecting the COVID-19 virus. The test is considered highly reliable and effective, and it is only performed in state-of-the-art labs by scientists.Some social media users are claiming these tests can clone humans, too.An Instagram post shared Nov. 23 (direct link, archived link) begins with a video of a man looking directly into the camera, saying that the PCR tests are genetically manipulating people.”The PCR tests are cloning technology,” proclaims the post caption.The attached video also includes a clip from an episode of the far-right “Stew Peters Show.”  In the clip, a purported doctor says the PCR tests are linked to human cloning, and she cites a study published in the Journal of Biological Engineering as evidence.Follow us on Facebook! Like our page to get updates throughout the day on our latest debunksThe post generated over 1,000 likes in less than two weeks. But the claim is baseless.Infectious disease specialists told USA TODAY that COVID-19 PCR tests can’t be used to clone humans. The test, which involves replicating COVID-19 sections of DNA, is distinct from human cloning. And the study cited by the doctor in the video clip predates the COVID-19 pandemic and is unrelated to human cloning, according to one of its co-authors.USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment.COVID-19 PCR tests can’t clone humans, experts sayCOVID-19 PCR tests are not linked to human or reproductive cloning, according to Matthew Binnicker, the director of clinical virology at the Mayo Clinic.Reproductive cloning involves removing a cell from an animal and transferring that cell’s DNA into an egg cell that “has had its own DNA-containing nucleus removed,” according to the National Human Genome Research Institute. To date, human cloning “still appears to be fiction” and no scientific evidence exists that “anyone has cloned human embryos,” the institute says on its website. The PCR test detects and amplifies a small part of the virus’ genome, a process distinct from human cloning, Binnicker said. The PCR tests could be said to involve cloning in the sense of replicating DNA molecules, but they do not involve recombining DNA or making genetically identical organisms, said Dr. Patrick Jackson, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Virginia.In addition, “genetic man …

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