PCR Covid 19 Cycle Threshhold

Garrick Cameron made this Official Information request to Ministry of Health

Response to this request is long overdue. By law Ministry of Health should have responded by now (details and exceptions). You can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: Garrick Cameron

Dear Ministry of Health,

What’s the Cycle Threshold (CT) value used to perform the PCR test for COVID19; what changes by date have been made to the (Cycle Threshold (CT)) value per lab for this test (COVID19 ) since the start of testing in New Zealand.
Yours faithfully, Garrick

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From: OIA Requests

Kia ora   

   

Thank you for your request for official information received on 11 January
2021 for:   

   

" What’s the Cycle Threshold (CT) value used to perform the PCR test for
COVID19; what changes by date have been made to the (Cycle Threshold (CT))
value per lab for this test (COVID19 ) since the start of testing in New
Zealand."

 

The Ministry's reference number for your request is: H202100070.   

   

As required under the Official Information Act 1982, the Ministry will
endeavour to respond to your request no later than 15 February 2021, being
20 working days after the day your request was received.   

   

Please note, the three weeks between Christmas Day and 15 January 2021 do
not count as working days. For more information, please refer to the
following website: [1]http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/   

   

If we are unable to respond to your request within this time frame, we
will notify you of an extension of that time frame.   

   

If you have any queries related to this request, please do not hesitate to
get in touch.   

   

Ngâ mihi   

   

OIA Services   

Government Services   

Office of the Director-General   

Ministry of Health   

E: [2][email address]   

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Garrick Cameron <[FOI #14434 email]>
Sent: Monday, 11 January 2021 13:33
To: OIA Requests <[email address]>
Subject: Official Information request - PCR Covid 19 Cycle Threshhold
 
Dear Ministry of Health,

What’s the Cycle Threshold (CT) value used to perform the PCR test for
COVID19; what changes by date have been made to the (Cycle Threshold (CT))
value per lab for this test (COVID19 ) since the start of testing in New
Zealand.
Yours faithfully, Garrick

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Ministry of Health


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Kia ora Garrick Cameron

Please find attached a letter regarding your request for information.

Ngā mihi

OIA Services
Government Services
Office of the Director-General
Ministry of Health
E: [email address]

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P McKenna left an annotation ()

Hi Garrick
The response given by Dr Watson from the MOH is a fob off. He is skirting the question.
You should respond direct ot kelvin with a more specific question

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From: Garrick Cameron

Dear Ministry of Health,

Is the cycle threshold still 40 cycles or do you also now use a lower threshold for vaccinated people?

Yours faithfully,

Garrick Cameron

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From: OIA Requests

Kia ora,

 

Thank you for your Official Information Act (the Act) request. This is
an automatic reply to let you know we received it.

 

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic response, the Ministry is experiencing
significantly higher volumes of queries and requests for information. We
will endeavour to acknowledge your request as soon as possible. Further
information about COVID-19 can be found on our
website: [1]https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/dise...

 

In accordance with the Act, we'll let you know our decision within no more
than 20 working days. If you'd like to calculate the timeframe, you can
use the Ombudsman's online calculator
here: [2]http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/

If you have any questions while we're processing your request, please let
us know via [3][email address]

 

Ngā mihi  

OIA Services Team  

   

[4]Ministry of Health information releases  

[5]Unite against COVID-19 

 

 

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5. https://covid19.govt.nz/

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From: OIA Requests


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Kia ora Garrick,

 

Thank you for your follow up email.

 

For the RT-PCR assays being used in New Zealand laboratories, the number
of cycles for which the assays run is 40. The number of cycles for which
any RT-PCR assay runs is a pre-programmed parameter in the software of the
analyser used for the test and cannot be changed by the individual
laboratories using the assays. Regardless of when the threshold is
reached, the assay will run for the full 40 cycles.   

 

As above, the Ct value is also determined by the test manufacturer and
cannot be altered by the laboratory performing the test.  

This number has not been changed by the manufacturers since COVID-19
testing commenced in New Zealand.

 

Additionally, vaccination status is not collected at the time of testing,
so does not factor into assessment of the test.

 

Under section 28(3) of the Act you have the right to ask the Ombudsman to
review any decisions made under this request. The Ombudsman may be
contacted by email at: [1][email address] or by calling 0800
802 602.     

 

Ngā mihi  

OIA Services Team  

   

[2]Ministry of Health information releases  

[3]Unite against COVID-19 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Garrick Cameron <[FOI #14434 email]>
Sent: Thursday, 18 November 2021 09:25
To: OIA Requests <[email address]>
Subject: Re: Response to request for official information (ref:
H202100070)

 

Dear Ministry of Health,

Is the cycle threshold still 40 cycles or do you also now use a lower
threshold for vaccinated people?

Yours faithfully,

Garrick  Cameron

show quoted sections

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P McKenna left an annotation ()

Hi Garrick,
See my OIA thread Here:
https://fyi.org.nz/request/16428-pcr-cyc...
and
https://fyi.org.nz/request/17246-ct-valu...

The above both have a data file with the CT values for cases since Febuary. You'll have to import it into xcell and wade throught it

Kelvin obviously does not know what's going on here. The reality is that there are lots of 'cases' with Cycle rates over 40. So the limit is now 45. This appears to be a change from last year where the limit was stated to be 40.

The Manufacturer will set a cycle rate limit, often 45, but that does not mean that the lab can't dial it down to their own more reasonable limit. Some labs overseas have set 30 as the limit. Even at ct30 the number of actual infections amongst positive results is barely over 20% (See https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/72/...)

MOH's answer to your second question is inadequate because it is clear that the cycle rate increased early this year and this does appear to be a change. Though, as I said above, Kelvin is probably not aware of it.

I suggest you go back to him for 'clarification'. Feel free to use the data from my OIAs above

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From: Garrick Cameron

Dear OIA Requests,
I reviewed your data sheet and there are clearly CT values over 40, why? The most recent csv file also contains details of vaccine administered so are you now saying that vaccine status is collected at time of test? Your reply above states it is not.

Yours sincerely,

Garrick Cameron

Link to this

From: OIA Requests

Kia ora Garrick, 
So that we can process your request, can you please clarify what data
sheet you are referring to?
Ngā mihi, 
OIA Services 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Garrick Cameron <[FYI request #14434 email]>
Sent: Sunday, 21 November 2021 08:56
To: OIA Requests <[email address]>
Subject: Re: Response to request for official information (ref:
H202100070)
 
Dear OIA Requests,
I reviewed your data sheet and there are clearly CT values over 40, why?
The most recent csv file also contains details of vaccine administered so
are you now saying that vaccine status is collected at time of test? Your
reply above states it is not.

Yours sincerely,

Garrick  Cameron

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Garrick Cameron

Dear OIA Requests,

CT Value with vax status 1.csv.xls

Yours sincerely,

Garrick Cameron

Link to this

From: OIA Requests


Attachment image001.png
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Kia ora Garrick,

 

Thank you for your request for official information received on 21
November 2021 for:

 

"I reviewed your data sheet and there are clearly CT values over 40, why?

The most recent csv file also contains details of vaccine administered so 
are you now saying that vaccine status is collected at time of test? Your 
reply above states it is not.”

 

On Monday 22 November you clarfied your request as being related to the
following data sheet: CT Value with vax status 1.csv.xls

 

A secondary request for official information was received on 29 November
2021 for:

 

“Please provide a copy of the signed and dated Royal Ascent by the
Governor-General to the Covid19 Vaccinations Bill. I'm sure it falls under
the guidance of your Ministry as a medical intervention.”

 

The Ministry of Health has consolidated these requests under reference
number: H202116864.

 

As required under the Official Information Act 1982, the Ministry will
endeavour to respond to your request no later than 20 December 2021, being
20 working days after the day your first request was clarified.

 

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic response, the Ministry is experiencing
significantly higher volumes of queries and requests for information. If
we are unable to respond to your request within this time frame, we will
notify you of an extension of that time frame.

 

If you have any queries related to this request, please do not hesitate to
get in touch.

 

Ngâ mihi

 

OIA Services

Government Services

Office of the Director-General

Ministry of Health

E: [1][email address]

 

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From: OIA Requests


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Kia ora Garrick,

 

Thank you for your request on 22 November 2021 requesting:

 

Please provide a copy of the signed and dated Royal Ascent by the
Governor-General to the Covid19 Vaccinations Bill. I'm sure it falls under
the guidance of your Ministry as a medical intervention.

 

The Ministry does not hold any information relating to this part of your
request; however, I have been advised that this part of your request is
held by the Office of the Clerk. For this reason, the Ministry of Health
has decided to transfer this part of your request to the Office of the
Clerk under section 14(b)(i) of the Act. You can expect a response from
the Office of the Clerk in due course.

 

Under section 28(3) of the Act you have the right to ask the Ombudsman to
review any decisions made under this request. The Ombudsman may be
contacted by email at: [email address] or by calling 0800 802
602.

 

Ngā mihi 

 

OIA Services

Government Services

Office of the Director-General

Ministry of Health

E: [1][email address]

 

 

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From: OIA Requests


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Kia ora Garrick,

 

Thank you for your email of 22 November 2021 requesting information
regarding COVID-19. Your requests have been consolidated under section
18(A) of the Official Information Act 1982 (the Act). I will respond to
each part of your request in turn:

 

I reviewed your data sheet and there are clearly CT values over 40, why?

 

A high CT value indicates that there is a lower viral load. Therefore,
more reaction cycles are needed to amplify the genetic material.

 

Diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 can be undertaken on a number of testing
platforms. Examples of platforms used in New Zealand include Abbott, BD
Max, Panther, Perkin-Elmer, Aptima and Gene Expert. Some platforms do not
report a CT value.

CT values will vary depending on the testing platform used.  CT values for
samples tested using the Abbott platform will generally be lower, than CT
values reported from other platforms.  This does not indicate there is a
higher viral load.

 

The call of a weak or very weak signal is made and reported by the
clinical microbiologist and it would depend on various factors, such as
how many genes per assay had detectable amplicon and what the
interpretation criteria from the manufacturer is etc. For instance, if you
have an assay where only one of two gene targets are detected you will
repeat the test on another assay for confirmation. If that assay also has
only one gene out or two or three detected, then the Clinical
microbiologist many times will call it a confirmed very weak positive
based on the fact that at least two gene targets were detectable on that
sample albeit with very weak signals.

The most recent csv file also contains details of vaccine administered so
are you now saying that vaccine status is collected at time of test? Your
reply above states it is not.

 

Vaccine status is not collected at the time of test, this was collated as
part of a specific OIA request.

Please provide a copy of the signed and dated Royal Ascent (sic) by the
Governor-General to the Covid19 Vaccinations Bill. I'm sure it falls under
the guidance of your Ministry as a medical intervention.
This part of your request was transferred to the Office of the Clerk on 15
December 2021. You can expect a response from the Office of the Clerk in
due course.

 

Under section 28(3) of the Act you have the right to ask the Ombudsman to
review any decisions made under this request. The Ombudsman may be
contacted by email at: [1][email address] or by calling 0800
802 602.  

 

Ngā mihi 

 

OIA Services

Government Services

Office of the Director-General

Ministry of Health

E: [2][email address]

 

 

 

 

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