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Fact check: COVID-19 testing is not a secret blood harvesting operation

Facebook users are sharing a video featuring an alleged former officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which claims that the purpose of testing for COVID-19 is to harvest blood and obtain genetic information. This claim is false.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

Example posts can be found here , here , and here .

Text at the top of the video identifies the speaker as Celeste Solum and claims that she had a 20-year career as an officer for FEMA, the agency responsible for coordinating the government’s response to disasters such as hurricanes or terror attacks ( www.fema.gov/about-agency ). A FEMA representative told Reuters via email that the agency “has no record of a Celeste Solum having ever been a FEMA employee.”

Solum claims that “when they’re talking about testing for COVID, it is actually blood harvesting, and it is going into quantum super computers.” She says that the purpose of this blood harvesting is to covertly mine information from “deep in your family history” without your permission.

Testing for the new coronavirus infection does not involve blood harvesting. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are two types of test for COVID-19, a viral test to check if a patient actively has the disease and an antibody test to check if a patient has previously been infected ( here). The former is performed via nasal swab, the latter is a blood test.

Quest Diagnostics, a major manufacturer of viral tests for COVID-19 in the U.S., explained to Reuters via email its protocol for testing and disposing of nasal swab samples is to temporarily store specimens following a test, usually for around one week, in case doctors wish to follow up. “After that temporary post-test completion storage interval is completed, the residual specimen is safely disposed of according to governmental regulations that pertain to that sample.”

Unlike viral tests, antibody tests do “check your blood by looking for antibodies, which can show if you had a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19,” according to the CDC ( here ). Reuters found no evidence that these antibody tests would be used for blood harvesting.

LabCorp, a major manufacturer of the antibody test, confirmed to Reuters via email these claims are untrue ( here ).

A LabCorp representative said that for COVID-19 antibody testing, “ less than 15 milliliters of blood, or about half an ounce” is required, and that “any residual portion of the sample that remains after testing is completed is discarded following required waiting period.” The spokesperson pointed to exceptions when a healthcare provider might want to test a patient’s sample again, and small amounts “used for equipment validation and quality control purposes.” They confirmed these samples are stored for up to seven days.

There are secondary claims in the video on Facebook, which are out of scope of this fact check.

VERDICT

False. Testing for current COVID-19 infection does not involve harvesting blood. Residual blood in antibody tests is disposed of in accordance with laws and regulations. FEMA has no record of Celeste Solum ever being an employee.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact checking work  here .

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