Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion, SUNY 2003Frank Visser, graduated as a psychologist of culture and religion, founded IntegralWorld in 1997. He worked as production manager for various publishing houses and as service manager for various internet companies and lives in Amsterdam. Books: Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion (SUNY, 2003), and The Corona Conspiracy: Combatting Disinformation about the Coronavirus (Kindle, 2020).


Part One | Part Two | Part Three
"The peer reviews [of the Corman-Drosten Review Report] overall come to the same conclusion as experts who have published their 'reviews' of the retraction request (see some examples: Beyer 1, Beyer 2, Visser, Wilson)." —Andrea Ammon, Director European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control,, 2021-06-14.

PCR-Gate 3:
The PCR Debate That Never Really Happened

The Corona Conspiracy, Part 33

Frank Visser

This time, I will finally try to connect the dots of this highly technical PCR test issue myself—for what it's worth.

When I created the ebook at Amazon of the first 19 chapters of THE CORONA CONSPIRACY in October 2020, I thought I had exhausted this topic. But In December, the infamous Corman-Drosten Review Report got released online, attracting millions of views. You can read about this episode in Part 20 and Part 24. Of course, the virus denialists that featured in the book (Icke, Kaufman, Lanka, Cowan) kept surprising us with new stupidities when it comes to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the pandemic it has caused, so that made for extra online chapters as well. But bear in mind that the team that was responsible for this Review Report did not consist of those who deny the existence of the virus per se (with some exceptions, see Part 25). At most they deny its harmfulness and the need for any large scale government measures and vaccine interventions. This qualifies as "denialism" as well. So while not as cranky as the true virus denialists, they still held on to doubtful claims about the pandemic, more specifically the nature and usefulness of PCR testing.

The PCR-Gate Soap Series

As you can read in these previous chapters, the Review Report demanded the retraction of the first paper about the PCR test for SARS-CoV-2, published by the Corman-Drosten team in the journal Eurosurveillance in early 2020. After consulting external world class PCR experts, the editors of this journal did not accept their arguments as valid and considered the matter closed, much to the chagrin of the ICSLS team members. Their conviction that "science" was completely corrupted and politicized by Big Pharma was set in stone. Their logic: more tests lead to more "cases", which require more vaccines, which in turn result in more profits for Big Pharma. But to those who say Big Pharma is getting filthy rich during this pandemic, this only relates to the winners of this race. The number of losers far outweighs the number of winners. Capitalism in action.[1]

While Eurosurveillance did not consider it opportune to deal in detail with the critical points raised by Borger & Co., the interested layman would like to know if they actually had a point (or points). Was the Corman-Drosten PCR test protocol flawed, did it still form the basis of most if not all PCR tests done today and was there any reason to question the number of cases detected by these tests? Online many virologists or PCR specialists had chimed in to criticize the Review Report, but none did this so thoroughly as molecular biologist Andreas Beyer, professor at the Westfälische Hochschule.

So when he published his Kritik of the Review Report, we would have expected the ICSLS team to be happy their arguments were at least taken seriously enough to criticize. But apart from some agressive comments by team member Bobby Malhotra ("utter nonsense") and a half-hearted and mysteriously aborted attempt to refute Beyer at their ICSLS platform (which was quickly put behind a password), nothing happened. Until, that is, in September 2021, Pieter Borger—main author of the Review Report, and apparently now acting as a sole author—published his reflections on Beyer's criticism and the future of the PCR tests on his Researchgate page.

We will take this publication as his final statement on this debate, given that the interest in "PCR-Gate" seems to be waning, and ciritically analyze it below. A debate that never really happened. Disclosure: I have been in frequent contact with Andreas Beyer about this issue and actually stimulated him to critically review the Borger team papers. This time, I will finally try to connect the dots of this highly technical PCR test issue myself—for what it's worth.

PCR Debate

Chronology of relevant papers

But first let's list the papers so you can read through them at your own leisure:

Published after this chapter was written:


Pieter Borger
Pieter Borger

The interested reader may still have been lost in the many claims, responses and counter claims around this Review Report (and its Addendum). So let's try to summarize the main message of these documents.

The Review Report is primarily a theoretical exposition about how a correct PCR test should be designed. Using textbook knowledge, its authors claim to have found major design flaws in the PCR protocol developed by the Corman-Drosten team, and question the speed in which it was handed over to the WHO as a global standard. In particular they call into question if the paper was properly peer reviewed, a process which normally takes weeks if not months. Of course, an impending global pandemic is not a normal situation, so it stands to reason that Eurosurveillance had made special arrangements to speed up this process. That issue aside, which "design flaws" were found by the ICSLS team? As you can read in Part 20, this is mostly a matter of the right temperatures, volumes and other parameters. Also, the validity of the so-called primers and probes was questioned, and the fact that these were "degenerate" (i.e. unspecific). Could the test really detect this particular new virus or was it highly unspecific? And wasn't this protocol created on the basis of theoretical sequences instead of real viral samples? Especially concerning was the fact that the Corman-Drosten protocol advised to use 45 cycles, a fact that has caused quite some controversy in the online media. It was generally claimed, as did the ICSLS team, that his would only produce a large number of "false positives".

In the Addendum produced a month later, in January 2021, the authors briefly review 20 research papers that supposedly supported their theoretical claims. One wonders, if the flaws of the Corman-Drosten protocol were already that widely documented in the research literature, what's the point of claiming this as a revolutionary insight by an international "consortium of experts"? As this literature also showed, multiple PCR test protocols had been designed after that first test was created, and these used different parameters and tested for different genes. Why stay fixated on the earliest of all tests, instead of objectively looking for which test performs relatively better than others? Nay, why not create a "perfect" test protocol yourself, if the expertise of the ICSLS team was so wonderful? What was holding them back? At the end of the Addendum the real agenda of the authors became clear: even a "perfect test" would not be useful for diagnostic purposes, since the mere presence of viral fragment does not by definition mean that a person is infectious or even infected himself. But if that is the true conviction of the team members, why spend so much time and energy on disqualifying an early (and afterwards improved) PCR test?

One wonders, if the flaws of the Corman-Drosten protocol were already that widely documented in the research literature, what's the point of claiming this [in the Addendum] as a revolutionary insight by an international "consortium of experts"?


Andreas Beyer
Andreas Beyer

Prof. Andreas Beyer questioned the expertise of the ICSLS consortium members when it comes to PCR testing. This has been interpreted as ad hominem criticism, but it is really relevant whenever an ad hoc consortium is assembled with such strong challenges to the scientific establishment. Beyer lists multiple questions as to the claims made by the Borger team, concerning the nature of primers and probes, the use of theoretical sequences, and the legitimate use of degenerate primers. It turns out these rules of thumb used by the Borger team are not so set in stone as they want us to believe. More importantly, the Corman-Drosten PCR protocol did distinguish between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, and a host of other respiratory viruses for that matter. So this early protocol may have had some design flaws, it wasn't that bad after all, Beyer concludes. As to the number of 45 cycles mentioned in the protocol being too high to be diagnostically realistic, this number should not be confused with the cutoff point at which a test is proclaimed to give a positive result. In a widely quoted study (Jaafer et al, 2020) a Ct value of 35 or higher was correlated with an active virus in only 3% of the cases. This does not mean 97% of all test outcomes will be false positives, for in the large majority of case the test will turn positive at much lower cycles.[2]

Beyer's second paper does take the Addendum into account, as requested by the Consortium, but stated bluntly: "their Addendum is just as flawed as their Report". He also states, correctly I believe, that the Review Report should stand on its own merits (it made no reference to any Addendum when it was published). Beyer admits that the early version of the Corman-Drosten protocol was "immature", but that an improved version was already fully functional long before the Review Report was published. The flaws were widely known and documented, "but no one drew the conclusion that it is completely unsuitable as claimed by the Borger-Kämmerer group." Beyer also points out that many insinuations regarding malpractice and conflicts of interested are unfounded, or at least not as serious as the Borger team loudly claimed.

All in all, Beyer's point of view believably resonates with that of other critics, such as Dan Wilson, who concluded his video review of the Review Report with the sober statement: "If I were to summarize this critique [by Borger et al.] I would say that it's mostly wrong but even when it is right, it is overly dramatic." (see Part 24) Or John Tal: "The revised Corman-Drosten test is neither better nor worse than any of the available PCR tests that are currently in use all over the world." (see Part 20)

Looking at this from an outsider perspective, I would conclude that this technical field is best left to experts. But an ad hoc Consortium of doubtful expertise claiming it can take down the accomplishments of science and is loudly clamoring for a hearing and demanding a place at the scientific table reeks too much of the conspiracy mentality to me. In a sense it is unfortunate that neither the Corman-Drosten team members nor Eurosurveillance have dealt with the Review Report criticism in detail, but on the other hand, this is understandable given the endless and often aggressive nature of online debates and communications.


With this background we can now enter Borger's latest "response" to Beyer's criticisms. Here's the Abstract:

When an article—or essay—commences with several unsubstantiated statements it should be read with caution, because we might not be dealing with a scientific paper. Rather, such articles are written for personal goals or gains, or simply to stir up public opinion. The article by Dr Andreas Beyer, indisputably the most vocal defender of Drosten's PCR test in Germany, is no exception. Beyer wrote his essay as a response to our scientific criticism on the Corman-Drosten-RTPCR test, which was submitted November 2020 to Eurosurveillance (who rejected it in February 2021 without disclosing the reviewer's comments). Laboratory data now provide compelling evidence against Beyer's claims that our "PCR critique is not scientifically founded". Our conclusion is that RTPCR test is not suitable as a Covid diagnostic and should be abandoned as the golden standard to define Covid infections.

It is ironic how pot and kettle show up here. The Consortium members left no stone unturned to "stir up public opinion", as we have seen with "unsubstantiated statements". "We might not be dealing with a scientific paper", indeed. The sweeping statement that "laboratory data" now prove that "RTPCR test is not suitable as a Covid diagnostic and should be abandoned" goes far beyond a detailed critique of the earliest Corman-Drosten protocol. What laboratory data does Borger have in mind? Apparently not the long list of 20 research papers presented in the Addendum, which—if anything—show that PCR tests, when properly designed, are useful to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus! It is clear that Pieter Borger has moved the goal posts—again. Here's why:

Pieter Borger Moving the PCR-Gate Goal Posts
The Corman-Drosten PCR test is flawed and cannot be used as diagnostic intrument Initial flaws were corrected resulting in a test that was comparable to other tests
Even a perfect PCR test could not be used as a useful diagnostic instrument PCR tests can't detect infection but are useful to monitor the spread of the virus
PCR tests produce 30-50% false positives anyways, so this debate is now obsolete This is a minority view spread by Sin Lee which got published in a spurious journal

Borger spends a lot of words on Beyer's rather innocent introductory statement that "By the end of 2019, a novel corona virus, SARS-CoV-2, was transmitted from animals to humans in China and quickly spread out from there over the globe." He claims that the virus emerged much earlier (even "concurrently with the SARS-CoV virus" of 2003), that SARS-CoV-2 is actually a variant of SARS-CoV and that there is still no conclusive evidence it emerged from animals. All this, however, is still hotly debated, so I would say at the moment it is anybody's guess. Circumstantial evidence surrounds us on all sides (be it for a natural or a lab origin of the virus), and I can't see the relevance to the issue at hand of the PCR test and its practical use. What is more, nobody denies a family resemblance (not identity) of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2.

On a more positive note, Borger writes "We do not deny that Beyer's essay contains a number of interesting (theoretical) comments, neither do we ignore his points of concern." But then he questionably adds: "They have all had our attention and we addressed them extensively in the addendum." This glosses over the many shortcomings Beyer found in the very Addendum Borger refers him to. This is not even the start of the real scientific debate, guys.

Dr Sin Hang Lee
Dr Sin Hang Lee

Then Borger comes up with his newly found hobby horse, the work of Dr Sin Lee who presumably has proved beyond any doubt that 30-50% of the COVID PCR test results are false positives, because in the PCR products no SARS-CoV-2 sequences could be detected with Sanger sequencing (an older sequencing technology). Now, this is again a very technical issue, but the really important and interesting fact would be how Sin Lee's and Borger's strong claim has been received by the scientific community—if at all. His manuscript was rejected by PCR-guru Stephen Bustin (who was one of the reviewers of the Review Report for Eurosurveillance, as it turned out), and got published online on a dubious website. An earlier paper by Lee with the same thesis was published in a journal of geriatrics and rehabilitation. Not really confidence inspiring, if you ask me.[3]

Warning: Scientific Ghost Riders

T-Rex "Trix", Naturalis, Leiden

Finally, Borger suspects that Beyer, who defends not only conventional PCR technology but also the neo-Darwinian paradigm, is driven by an anti-theistic attitude, Borger himself being a creationist working for the Christian organization Wort und Wissenschaft (as "research associate"). "Could it be that Beyer attacked our ICLSS [sic] group, because he identified me and another coathor as staunch opponents of the Darwinian narrative— the most tested and failed hypothesis to explain the origin of species? If so, his attack may be explained by an inability to differentiate between operational and historical science— a deficit which I have observed by several members of the Darwinian community. In contrast to historical science, operational science can be tested and falsified through empirical experimentation." Here, Borger echoes creationist arguments advanced by Young Earth creationist Ken Ham, who also claims that evolutionary theory is not an observational science but a historical science. This amounts to saying "Nobody was there when the dinosaurs walked the earth." Of course, we have dinosaur fossils at our disposal and can reconstruct the evolutionary history based on these findings.[4]

Borger's final comment is self-revealing: "When scientific criticism of a paper that was not peer-reviewed, is regarded as conspiracy, as Beyer does, it is obvious that there is something severely wrong with his understanding of science." What's wrong with criticizing a scientific paper, Borger naïvely asked Beyer in one of their exchanges. To which Beyer drily commented: "Nothing, and that's exactly what I am doing with your Review Report." Clearly, Borger isn't aware of his conspirational mind-set at all.

Then Borger shows he likes to play the role of scientific revolutionary (isn't he a Darwin-improver himself, as author of the self-published Darwin Revisited, Scholar's Press, 2018?)[5]:

Pieter Borger, Darwin Revisited
Beyer seems to think that science and knowledge progress by democratic voting or that scientific truths are determined by defending and spreading mainstream opinions. It is hard to believe that Corman, who apparently read and commented on Beyer's essay, did not notice the anti-science attitude expressed in it. The history of science shows that following the mainstream has always been a science stopper, and consensus science, i.e. the collective opinion of a community of scientist [sic], was always wrong. Group thinking and copying main stream opinions is anti-science. That science nevertheless progressed was because of paradigm shifts induced by individuals and out-of-the-box thinking.
Science commits suicide when it adopts (political) creeds, ideologies, dogmas and group thinking. Science can only move forward through free debate and scrutiny of dubious science by critical thinkers. And the only way to move science forward is by experimentation and empirical evidence. In contrast to scientific work performed by our supporters, Beyer's essay does not fullfil any of these criteria. It needs no further attention. Emperical [sic] science refuted his theoretical musings.

The world is full of Einstein-improvers or Darwin-improvers who don't feel heard by the scientific community and decide that "science" has become corrupt. "The collective opinion of a community of scientist[s], was always wrong." Really? These scientific ghost riders, as we may call them, always think they are driving on the right side of the road, and wonder why everybody else is breaking the rules. Calling the neo-Darwinian paradigm "the most tested and failed hypothesis to explain the origin of species" while advocating a creationist alternative (in which created species or "basic types"[6] and even created and frontloaded genomes or baranomes[7] are seen as more scientific and believable than evolved species and genomes) makes one wonder if there isn't "something severely wrong with his understanding of science."

Appendix 1: Beyer Replies to Borger

Andreas Beyer replied to Borger's statements in a brief article on[8] It is, again, an embarrassing exposure of Pieter Borger's style of argumentation, full of truths, half-truths and lies (as is the case of so much conspirational pseudo-science). Here's a brief summary, but please read through the full article:

  1. Beyer's article, in which he thanks Victor Corman for his helpful comments, was not an "official reply" from the scientific establishment, as Borger assumes.
  2. SARS-CoV-2 virus is a novel virus that emerged at the end of 2019, which reflects the mainstream view of science, stating otherwise is semantic quibbling.
  3. The syndromes of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 are not identical, as any intensive care specialist can tell (and Borger's citing of his own article is imprudent).
  4. Nobody denies these two viruses have a lot in common, after all they are both sarbecoviruses, so this is only to be expected when comparing the two.
  5. Contrary to Borger's claims Beyer has read and extensively dealt with the Addendum, which the Borger team posted to prove their theoretical points.
  6. Dr. Sin Hang Lee does not provide a credible account of qPCR producing "built-in" false positives, his argumentation is puzzling and the journal is questionable.
  7. Dr. Sin Hang Lee has severe conflicts of interest, since he is producing and promoting his own PCR test (a rather painful conclusion, since that same accusation was prominently directed by the Borger team at Christian Drosten).
  8. Borger's rant devolves into misplaced ad hominems of Beyer's credentials, which would a forteriori apply to the members of the Borger-Kämmerer team.
  9. Borger's wild claim to have refuted neo-Darwinism is largely obsolete, since the Modern Synthesis has now largely been replaced by the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis.
  10. Beyer's non-theistic and Darwinistic worldview is irrelevant when it comes to discussing PCR, which after all formed the main topic of the Review Report.

Beyer concludes:

Once again there is nothing but misstatements, false assertions, misinterpretations, biased citations, smoke grenades, cynicism, impertinence, ad hominem arguments and some more fallacies. And Borger contacted the administration of my university complaining of "religious offence" by my publications (of course without any proof / citation). Well, try to find any remark offending religion in [my two articles on Borger]... But I do understand very well that pseudoscientists feel "offended" when they are unmasked and debunked. And so the administration did not react ...
Borger and the complete Borger-Kämmerer group up to now still have not understood what degenerate primers are and how contemporary qPCR works... Explaining it to him is like discussing something with a parrot who always is repeating the same nonsense over and over again. An unjustified verdict? Well, Borger, Kämmerer & Co are cordially invited to do real experiments, collect real data and publish them scientifically. Then we'll see...

Appendix 2: Borger's Second Reply to Beyer

Within a few days Borger posted a second reply to Beyer on his researchgate page.[9] Here's the abstract (assuming it summarizes the main points):

After publication of our Corman-Drosten Critique, a small group of dyed-in-the-whool [sic] Darwinians gathered around Dr. Andreas Beyer, germany's most vocal defender of the Darwinian narrative (the most tested and failed hypothesis of biology[9a]). Why did Beyer include them? They are not PCR experts at all, so what could the reason be? It appears that they all adhere to the same Darwinian religion. Beyer's attack on our ICLSS [sic] is religiously motivated as illustrated by his second rebuttal, in which he keeps referring to me as "young earth creationist". It should be clear that scientific arguments should be independent of religious ad hominems. What matters it that Maxwell or Pasteur were creationists? Their argumentation was excellent. They were great scientists. Beyer once more demonstrates that he is unable to address my comments without referring to religion. That Beyer is unable to do so, signifies his unscientific bias against poeple [sic] with different opinions than his own Darwinian belief

Apparently, it now is all about a spiritual battle for Borger. Read both pieces by Andreas Beyer and you will find only a passing reference to Borger being a creationist (and a Young Earth one at that—not irrelevant for his general stance towards science). And nothing at all about Darwinism. Beyer explicitly tells him:

Please read [my two articles] and look if you find any argument concerning evolution or Borger's book. My publications both deal solely with the horribly flawed criticism of the Borger Kämmerer group of the Corman-Drosten-qPCR test.

And for the record, there is no "group gathered around Dr. Andreas Beyer" (is Borger getting paranoid?). I just asked Beyer to respond to Borger's wild and ever-changing claims around the PCR test and he graciously complied. I happen to be interested (as a layman) in this PCR-Gate debate. One last comment about myself being a non-export on PCR:

[Beyer's] bias is illustrated by the names of two staunch Darwinians, who both are absolute laypersons in the PCR field, but which he included in his acknowledgement (as "experts").

You don't need to be an expert on PCR to see that many professional PCR experts disagree with the conclusions of the Borger-Kämmerer team. I do have some expertise when it comes to conspiracy and religious worldviews, especially when they try to include and/or refute science.

Appendix 3: Reply by the ECDC to Van Dijk

The journal Eurosurveillance is published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). In April 2021, Klaas van Dijk filed a FOI request to the ECDC at to make both the external reviews of the Corman-Drosten Review Report and their corresponence with Pieter Borger public, but the ECDC refused to do so, to protect the privacy of these reviewers. Now, Van Dijk did in fact do the Borger Consortium a great service by doing this—has he received any credit for this? I think not. Especially given the fact that he is very much opposed to the retraction request project in the first place, but still advocates transparency.

Be that as it may, at the end of the ECDC response, which was signed by Director Andrea Ammon, there is an interesting comment that gives us more than a clue about the content of these external reviews:

I cannot identify that releasing privileged communication of the journal (here in form of peer reviewer's comments or correspondence with authors) is the only means to refute arguments publicly presented by Borger et al. as the authors of the retraction request have made their request publicly available. The journal has responded with publicly available editorial notes (3 December 2020 and 4 February 2021). And in the meantime, scientists have also responded to the public review from Borger et al. in several ways during the last months. There is no identifiable added public interest brought forward by you that would substantiate the need to disclose e.g. the peer reviews that overall come to the same conclusion as experts who have published their "reviews" of the retraction request [see some examples: Beyer 1, Beyer 2, Visser, Wilson]. (italics added) [10]

It seems clear, then, that Integral World has been instrumental in covering the PCR debate that never really happened (see Part 20, Part 24 and Part 33).

We can finally consider this matter closed.

Appendix 4: Additional PCR-skeptic papers

At the end of 2022, Pieter Borger has been involved in two additional PCR-skeptic papers (with co-author Rogier Louwen, a Dutch former employee of the Erasmus MC)—one paper quite conspirational, the second more neutral (or should we say diplomatic, to get published in a mainstream scientific journal?):

Helyion is an "all-science, open access journal" (article publication charge of $2,100 USD), Zenodo is a CERN-based platform for "open science".

Of the first paper, Kämmerer, Klement and Borger are members of the ICSLS consortium. Sona Pekova is a Czech PCR-skeptic. Note the quotes around "Detect" and "Diagnose", which gives the story away. One of the results: "Neglected principles of good scientific practice resulted not only in the publication of the WHO-recommended Charité RT-qPCR protocol, but also in multiple health-related problems." The paper concludes: "Both our own results and data from available literature confirmed that validation of any PCR-based diagnostic test by sequencing is mandatory, not only during the initial phase of establishment, but also on a regular basis during the following time. To prevent future misconduct, science needs a reality check and must re-initiate the scientific dialogue and liberate itself from political influence and dogma." It is unclear to me why the "successive waves" issue is included in this paper which is highly critical of the Corman-Drosten PCR (this seems to be Pekova's contribution).

The second paper states, under the heading of "Comparison with other studies": "Of note, it is important to clarify that our work does not aim to criticize the work performed by Charité Berlin, where the primers design and the test were developed in an emergency state and without any prior genomic knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 as well as the lack of patient samples. Our findings were solely compared to the above test, due to the availability of data and results from other studies." (lines 413-417). And it concludes: "our work shows that the newly developed primers, despite outperforming the ones designed by Charité Berlin in PPA, are still suboptimal to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA." (lines 442-446). For sure, this is a different mindset than usually found in Borger's papers or social media communications ("science is dead!"). Also note that even an "improved" primer set was still considered as "suboptimal" by these authors. That means in retrospect, that the Corman-Drosten accomplishment, given the circumstances they had to work with, is all the more admirable.

Appendix 5: Stephen Bustin on the Drosten PCR

In this context it is worthwhile to check what Stephen Bustin, a world authority on PCR technology, has written about the Corman-Drosten PCR test. Lucky for us, he wrote a paper on this topic:

The abstract is worth quoting from—he acknowledges the controversy around this particular SARS-CoV2 assay protocol (hinting at the Borger-Kämmerer paper without quoting it):

This [rt-qPCR] technology has been pushed to the forefront of public awareness by the COVID-19 pandemic, as its global application has enabled rapid and analytically sensitive mass testing, with the first assays targeting three viral genes published within days of the publication of the SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequence. One of those, targeting the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene, has been heavily criticised for supposed scientific flaws at the molecular and methodological level, and this criticism has been extrapolated to doubts about the validity of RT-qPCR for COVID-19 testing in general.

However, he continues in a measured way:

We have analysed this assay in detail, and our findings reveal some limitations but also highlight the robustness of the RT-qPCR methodology for SARS-CoV-2 detection. Nevertheless, whilst our data show that some errors can be tolerated, it is always prudent to confirm that the primer and probe sequences complement their intended target, since, when errors do occur, they may result in a reduction in the analytical sensitivity. However, in this case, it is unlikely that a mismatch will result in poor specificity or a significant number of false-positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnoses, especially as this is routinely checked by diagnostic laboratories as part of their quality assurance.

And he concludes:

In conclusion, the reverse primer mismatch in the RdRp component assay of the first published SARS-CoV-2 test affects the performance of that assay. In contrast, the mismatched probe has no appreciable effect on the assay sensitivity. Importantly, it is possible to ameliorate the effects of the primer mismatch through a combination of optimal RT, reagents and protocols. Whilst we would continue to stress that it is important to design assays carefully from the start, our findings hold an important lesson for RT-qPCR assays in general, as they highlight the flexibility and robustness of this methodology, where even a suboptimal design can be rescued by intelligent optimisation.

Such as world of difference with plandemic-crying Covid contrarians like Borger and Louwen! It is important to stress that Covid contrarians usually reason: flawed first PCR test => generates false positives => casedemic or plandemic. In contrast, Bustin saw no reason to suspect "a significant number of false positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnoses" due to the Corman-Drosten PCR test.


[1] "Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker", New York Times, Updated Sept. 28, 2021

Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker

[2] Rita Jaafar et al., "Correlation Between 3790 Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction-Positives Samples and Positive Cell Cultures, Including 1941 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Isolates", Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 72, Issue 11, 1 June 2021.

[3] See: SH Lee (2021) qPCR is not PCR Just as a Straightjacket is not a Jacket-the Truth Revealed by SARS-CoV-2 False- Positive Test Results. COVID-19 Pandemic: Case Studies & Opinions 02(03): 230-278. Posted on:, June 2021, and Sin Hang Lee, "Testing for SARS-CoV-2 in cellular components by routine nested RT-PCR followed by DNA sequencing", International Journal of Geriatrics and Rehabilitation 2(1):69- 96, July 17, 2020.

[4] See also: Andreas Beyer, "COVID-19 und Kreationismus: Widerlegen Borger et al. die Drosten-PCR?", ag-evolutionsbiologie, January 2021.

[5] Original publication in Dutch: Terug naar de oorsprong: Hoe de nieuwe biologie het tijdperk van Darwin beëindigt, 2009. [Back to the origin: How the new biology ends the era of Darwin, Scholar's Press, 2018]. A review of this book in Dutch by atheist (and former Christian) Bart Klink can be found here: Bart Klink, "De wetenschappelijke dwaalwegen van een creationistisch bioloog" [The scientific stray roads of a creationist biologist],, 10 December 2009. Borger labels his theory "GUToB", generale en universele theorie over biologische verandering [general and universal theory of biological change]. In physics GUT means "grand unified theory". Clearly, Borger's ambitions aim high indeed.

[6] Gert Korthoff, "Common Descent: It's All or Nothing", This is an updated version of chapter 3 of Matt Young and Taner Edis, Why Intelligent Design Fails, Rutgers University Press, 2004.

[7] Peer Terborg (alias of Pieter Borger), "Evidence for the design of life: part 2 - Baranomes",, from: Journal of Creation 22(3):68-76, December 2008

[8] Andreas Beyer, "P.Borger and corona, pseudoscience and science - a comment",, October 2021.

[9] Pieter Borger, "How the Darwinian narrative, adopted as religion, led a German teacher astray -- A second reply to Andreas Beyer",, October 2021.

[9a] A direct reference to the back cover of (the Dutch edition of) Borger's Darwin Revisited, from John A. Davison, Professor Emeritus of Biology, University of Vermont, USA:

With this book Peter Borger has produced a very interesting and up to date alternative to the Darwinian thesis, the most tested and failed proposal in the history of science [emphasis added]. Hopefully this book will help ensure its long overdue demise as a rational explanation for the great mystery of organic evolution.

Davison was quite a character—obviously he has been a role model for Pieter Borger:

Towards the end of his life Davison would spend hours spamming websites and blogs about how Darwin's theory of evolution was wrong and unscientific and how the neo-Darwinists had ruined science. Davison was banned from many forums and even banned from intelligent design websites for his constant trolling. He was known for sending abusive emails to scientists who he claimed were "brainwashed" by Darwinism. (RationalWiki)

[10] Andrea Ammon, "Re: Your confirmatory application for access to documents - Ref 21-2523-1", Stockholm, 14 June 2021. This is an attachment to: Klaas van Dijk, "correspondence with Eurosurveillance",, April 28, 2021.


Dan Wilson: "If I were to summarize this critique [by Borger et al.] I would say that it's mostly wrong but even when it is right, it is overly dramatic."

Check out: 27 Covid-19 Myths &
83 Vaccine Myths from
To all those who claim SARS-CoV-2—or any virus—does not exist: the virosphere consists of 4 realms, 9 kingdoms, 16 phyla, 2 subphyla, 36 classes, 55 orders, 8 suborders, 168 families, 103 subfamilies, 1421 genera, 68 subgenera, 6590 species. Take that.

A summary of early parts of this series has appeared in the Dutch magazine Skepter 33(3), September 2020, as "Viruses don't exist" (covering Parts 1-5). German: Skeptiker (December 2020); English: (January 2021)

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