Fact Check: CDC Did NOT Admit That COVID Tests Are Invalid

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: CDC Did NOT Admit That COVID Tests Are Invalid Valid Tests

Did the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) admit that COVID-19 tests are invalid? No, that's not true: The claim relies on a lab alert issued on the CDC's decision to retire the use of the CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel. That alert was issued in July 2021. In August 2021, the CDC issued a clarification saying the test is accurate and results from it are "reliable, valid, and specific to SARS-CoV-2," the virus that causes COVID-19.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by Armstrong Economics on December 27, 2021. Titled "CDC Admits COVID Tests are Invalid," the article opened:

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is finally withdrawing the PCR test for COVID for it is seriously flawed and is incapable of distinguishing between the COVID and influenza viruses.

Users on social media saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Armstrong Economics

The article continued:

The CDC is withdrawing the COVID PCR Test and the media is not making this front page. The withdraw of the COVID PCR test as valid for detecting and identifying SARS-CoV-2 is critical for all the restrictions and lockdowns. It appears that the collapse in the approval ratings for BIDEN has sent a shock wave through the Democrats as they see their own demise on the horizon. They are now back-peddling in hopes of surviving the 2022 elections.

It then included a quote from and a link to an alert from the CDC Laboratory Outreach Communication System (LOCS) around the decision to retire the CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel after December 31, 2021.

Note that the alert was issued in July 2021, not December 2021, which could explain why the "media is not making this front page." Also, the fact that the test is being retired does not mean the test is flawed. It just means it is being retired.

Nevertheless, the alert appeared to stir up some questions. To answer those questions and to clear up any confusion, the CDC Laboratory Outreach Communication System released a clarification in August 2021, that says the test is accurate and results from it are "reliable, valid, and specific to SARS-CoV-2." The clarification reads, in part:

Is CDC retiring the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel because it has produced inaccurate results?

No. There are no performance concerns with this test. The CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel is a highly accurate test. It has been used to successfully detect SARS-CoV-2 since February 2020.

And later:

Does the retirement of the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time PCR Diagnostic Panel mean that the previous results from this test are invalid?

No. Results from this test are reliable, valid, and specific to SARS-CoV-2.

The clarification also answered the question of whether the soon-to-be-retired test confuses SARS-CoV-2 with influenza, as the Armstrong Economics article asserts. It does not. Lead Stories previously debunked that claim.

The CDC is retiring the test because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now authorized hundreds of other SARS-CoV-2 tests.

See the FDA website for a list of authorized COVID diagnostic methods.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

About us

International Fact-Checking Organization

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Follow us on social media

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion