The Case Against COVID Testing

33

By S. Ginsburg, Matzav.com

We all agree that the goal of our community is to keep schools and shuls open and to enable families to live their lives as normally as possible.  Yet there are some in the community who suggest and even mandate that testing–and the ensuing quarantining–is the answer.  In reality, COVID-19 testing of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic individuals is both unnecessary and counterproductive.

Human-to-human transmission of viruses can only take place if live virus is present and the viral load is sufficient.  When virus carriers remain asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, their viral loads are small.  According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, “Even if there is some asymptomatic transmission, in all the history of respiratory born viruses of any type, asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks” [1].  Furthermore, the WHO admitted in June that asymptomatic transmission is extremely rare [2].  (When the WHO later “retracted” this statement, the WHO stated that even though human contact tracing studies showed that asymptomatic transfer is “very rare”, their computer models suggest otherwise.  It goes without saying that computer models should only be trusted when they model reality–not when they contradict reality.)

If both recent contact tracing studies and the entire history of respiratory viruses suggest otherwise, what is the basis for the claim that asymptomatic transmission is a major factor in driving this pandemic?  The answer lies in the fact that many–in fact, most–people who test positive for COVID remain asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic [3].  For example, the CDC estimated that as many as 40% of COVID carriers are asymptomatic.  In another study, out of 3000 inmates who tested positive for COVID, a whopping 96% were asymptomatic [4]!  Yet there is an alternative explanation for the prevalence of asymptomatic COVID.

PCR tests are known to generate false positive results.  For instance, in 2006 PCR tests suggested the existence of a pertussis (whooping cough) outbreak at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center when 146 individuals tested positive for pertussis.  However, a gold standard test later revealed that not even 1 individual actually had pertussis [5]!  At least two other pseudo-outbreaks implicated PCR tests, leading the CDC to proclaim that “overreliance on the results of PCR assays can lead to implementation of unnecessary and resource-intensive control measures” [6].

Currently there is no gold standard COVID test that is commercially available, but direct DNA sequencing can be used to validate PCR test results.  When a group in Japan used direct DNA sequencing to confirm PCR tests, they found that 30% of positive tests were false positives [7].  A study in Norway that did not use direct DNA sequencing concluded that 93% of positive COVID tests were false positives [8], and the New York Times reported just last week that 90% of positive COVID tests are from people with clinically insignificant viral material [9].

The sensitivity and specificity of PCR tests depend on the number of amplification cycles the test performs.  The higher the number of amplification cycles, the higher the sensitivity; the lower the number of amplification cycles, the higher the specificity.  Mildly symptomatic patients were detected with amplification cycles as low as 18-20 [10], and pre-symptomatic patients were detected with a median cycle threshold of 23.1 [11].  Researchers at the Robert Koch Institute in Germany found that any viral load detected beyond 30 cycles was unable to be cultivated in a lab [12], and according to the CDC it is extremely rare to find live virus particles when the amplification cycle is higher than 33 [13].  The European CDC says that any virus detected with more than 35 amplification cycles may be due to reagent contamination [14].  Shockingly, the FDA does not specify a standard number of amplification cycles for COVID PCR tests and empowers commercial manufacturers and labs to “set their own standards” [9].  And most PCR tests being used in the United States are using 40 amplification cycles, with some using “only” 37 [9]!

Is it any wonder, then, that people can test positive for COVID for three months after becoming infected even if they were not infectious for more than 5-10 days [16]?  If the number of amplification cycles was limited to 30, 70-90% of positive tests would become negative [9].  Put differently, even if a person tests positive for COVID, the chances that the person has “clinically significant” or “infectious” COVID is only 10-30%!  This is probably why the CDC revised their COVID testing guidelines and no longer recommend testing of asymptomatic people even if they were exposed to COVID or did not practice social distancing in a COVID setting [17].  In fact, the CDC states that even mildly symptomatic individuals do not need to be tested for COVID if they are not vulnerable (e.g., immunocompromised) individuals [17].

How, then, can we assume that all people who test positive for COVID are indeed infectious when we know that the vast majority are not?!?  How can we mandate quarantines of asymptomatic people who were merely exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID (e.g., family members, schoolmates, shul members) when the CDC itself states that such measures are unnecessary?!?  And what do we gain by testing asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic people for COVID other than scaring individuals and the community about COVID cases that are very unlikely to be infectious?

The calls to perform COVID testing in classes, schools, and the community need to stop.  The calls to quarantine asymptomatic family and friends of people who test positive for COVID need to stop.  The calls to test people with mild symptoms that may be due to COVID or many other illnesses (e.g., cough, headache, runny nose, nausea, etc.) need to stop.  And when we stop detecting irrelevant COVID cases and over-relying on PCR tests, we may find that schools, shuls, and batei midrash can remain open without the implementation of “unnecessary and resource-intensive control measures”.

References:

[1]        https://www.ajmc.com/view/hhs-secretary-azar-issues-updates-on-novel-coronavirus

[2]  https://nypost.com/2020/06/08/who-asymptomatic-spread-of-coronavirus-appears-to-be-very-rare/

[3]        https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/planning-scenarios.html

[4]        https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/40-45-who-contract-new-coronavirus-are-asymptomatic#Large-numbers-of-asymptomatic-cases

[5]        https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/22/health/22whoop.html

[6]        https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5633a1.htm

[7]        http://www.dnalymetest.com/images/IJGeriatRehabLee_on_SARSCoV2_test.pdf

[8]  https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidnikel/2020/05/25/norway-says-widespread-coronavirus-testing-unnecessary/#54bad97177c5

[9]        https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/29/health/coronavirus-testing.html#click=https://t.co/uKyXUySVlM

[10]      https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2001191

[11]      https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2008457

[12]      https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=search&pto=aue&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=de&sp=nmt4&u=https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Entlassmanagement.html&usg=ALkJrhg7HKASxkHuuoVGyqFsCFwZpd8rvQ#:~:text=Ein%20PCR%2DErgebnis%20mit%20einem,einem%20Verlust%20der%20Anz%C3%BCchtbarkeit%20einhergeht

 

[13]      https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/duration-isolation.html

[14]      https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/all-topics-z/coronavirus/threats-and-outbreaks/covid-19/laboratory-support/questions

[15]

[16]      https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/duration-isolation.html

[17]      https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/testing-overview.html

{Matzav.com}

33 COMMENTS

  1. While it’s common knowledge that a positive test result can be from old particles, what is also common knowledge is that there has been a recent uptick across the frum communities. Hamodia reported yesterday that there are 10 people in hospitals in serious condition. That’s why the local doctors that have spoken out publicly have urged anyone with symptoms to get tested immediately as this will identify and isolate potential spreaders. Nobody wants to go back to a shutdown which is why it’s imperative to not hide the real numbers while the infection continues to spread. The real way to avoid a shutdown would be for people to take the appropriate social distancing measures instead of making believe that the virus is over as it continues to spread and spread and spread…

  2. This article begins with the words:
    “We all agree that the goal of our community is to keep schools and shuls open and to enable families to live their lives as normally as possible.”
    Really?! We all agree?? I wasn’t aware of that. I was under the impression that we all agree to the principle of וחי בהם – ולא שימות בהם.
    If this means shutting shuls and schools, then that’s what we’d do. Just like being mechalel shabbos to save someone’s life.
    Now, as to whether or not all the mumbo-jumbo quoted from who-knows-where cited in this article is legitimate or not, frankly I have no idea.
    However I just found it interesting that the author thinks “we all agree” to this narishkeit.

    • The CDC is owned by private Interests Mainly Bill Gates and Melinda Gates (TheLargest donors by far ) See the following list ,So why would you feel so bound to their pronouncements? and why do you so naively trust these murderous liars? WHEN Will You wake up!
      The CDC is a privately owned enterprise consisting of a LONG laundry list of donors
      Established by Congress more than two decades ago, the CDC Foundation is an independent, 501(c)(3) public charity.

      The foundation’s job is to fund the CDC with private corporate money. This creates a De Facto private enterprise that works for the benefits of the sponsors, not the American people. The conflicts of interest should be glaring to anyone who takes the time to look. How can a supposed independent agency act for the interests of the people when their paychecks are coming from corporations and wealthy people?

      [link to http://www.cdcfoundation.org (secure)]

      Let’s have a look at just a few corporate sponsors of ‘your’ CDC:

      Abbott Ireland
      Academic Hospital Paramaribo
      Affimedix, Inc.
      AmazonSmile Foundation
      American Association for Clinical Chemistry
      American Type Culture Collection
      Amgen Foundation
      Amgen Inc.
      ARUP Laboratories
      Atlanta Chapter Daughters of The American Revolution
      Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
      Bayer U.S. LLC
      BD
      Beckman Coulter, Inc.
      Benevity Community Impact Fund
      Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
      Biogen MA Inc.
      Biohit Laboratory Services
      BioReference Laboratories, Inc.
      Bloomberg Philanthropies
      Boditech Med Inc.
      Boston Children’s Hospital
      Brigham and Women’s Hospital
      Brown University
      C.D.C. Chapter 1419 NARFE
      Cargill, Inc.
      CDC Federal Credit Union
      Centennial Medical Center
      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
      Centre Hospitalier Universitaire of Liege
      Cerilliant Corporation
      Chambers Family Foundation
      Charities Aid Foundation of America:
      Carmen H. Villar, MSW
      Chemux Bioscience, Inc.
      Chromesystems Instruments & Chemicals GmbH
      Clarivate Analytics
      Classy, Inc.
      Clemson University
      College of American Pathologists
      Columbia University
      Community Foundation of Central Georgia, Inc.
      Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
      Covance Central Laboratory Services
      Delaware Academy of Medicine / Delaware Public Health Association
      Diagnostics Biochem Canada Inc.
      DiaSorin Inc.
      DiaSource Immunoassays SA
      Diazyme Laboratories
      Emory University
      Eurofins Biomnis
      Euroimmun Medizinische Labordiagnostika AG
      Eventbrite
      Facebook
      FIA Foundation
      Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund:
      Betensky-Kraut Family Fund
      Bruce & Susi Willis Gift Fund
      The Hunter Family Fund
      Jacobs Family Fund
      Kaunitz Family Charitable Fund
      Klepchick Family Fund
      Kreuter/Katz Family Fund
      Lisa A. Mills Fund
      Lubitz/Monroe Charitable Fund
      Martha and Robert Supnik Charitable Fund
      Murphy-Gittleman Family Fund
      The Nancy C. Lee Giving Fund
      Paul and Beverly Truebig Gift Fund
      Peter Dull and Judith Tsui Charitable Family Fund
      Petruzzelli/Herrera Fund
      Philip I. Kent Charitable Fund
      Vickery Perniciaro Family Fund
      Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics
      Four Seasons Environmental, Inc.
      Fremont Area Community Foundation, Inc.
      GAVI Alliance
      GiveWell
      GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals S.A.
      Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc.
      Global Inc.
      Good Ventures Foundation
      Government of Canada
      Greater Cleveland Community Shares
      Heartland Assays LLC
      HONOReform Foundation
      IBM Employee Services Center
      Immunodiagnostic Systems Inc.
      Imperial College London
      International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
      Intervet International B.V.
      Iodine Global Network
      IQ Solutions
      James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation
      James W. Down Company, Inc.
      JAMF Nation Global Foundation
      Job-Site Safety Institute
      Johns Hopkins University
      King Saud University
      The Kresge Foundation
      Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings
      Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute
      Luminex Corporation
      Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation
      Marcel J Vinduska Revocable Trust
      May P. And Francis L. Abreu Charitable Trust
      Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
      The Merck Foundation
      Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.
      Microgenics Corporation
      Monobind Inc.
      MTM Foundation
      National Philanthropic Trust
      Nelson Family Foundation
      Network for Good
      Northside Kiwanis Foundation
      Nutrition International
      Oak Crest Institute of Science
      Omaha Community Foundation
      Open Philanthropy Project
      Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics
      Partners HealthCare System, Inc.
      Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories
      Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation
      Pennsylvania State University
      Pew Charitable Trusts
      Quest Diagnostics
      RB Health (US) LLC
      R-Biopharm Inc.
      Reckitt Benckiser, Inc.
      The Regents of the University of New Mexico
      Richard E. & Marianne B. Kipper Foundation
      Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
      Roche Diagnostics Corporation
      Sabin Vaccine Institute
      Saul D. Levy Foundation
      Schwab Charitable Fund:
      Adler Family Charitable Fund
      Brody Charitable Fund
      John Schnitker/Elizabeth Weaver Charitable Fund
      Karen and Marvin Whaley Fund
      Ruth J. Katz Charitable Fund
      Shands/Mulinare Family Charitable Fund
      SCIEX
      Sergey Brin Family Foundation
      Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, Inc.
      Snibe Diagnostics (Snibe Co., Ltd.)
      Social Good Fund
      Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
      The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Inc.:
      Charles H & Margaret McTier Fund
      Jeffrey & Carol Koplan Family Fund
      Robert Yellowlees Family Fund
      Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.
      Three Rivers Community Foundation
      Tosoh Corporation
      Tri-State Gastroenterology
      Truist
      Tull Charitable Foundation
      UBS Donor-Advised Fund
      Ullmann Family Foundation
      UNICEF
      United Nations Foundation
      United Way of Central New Mexico
      United Way of Greater Atlanta, Inc.
      University of Arizona
      University of Connecticut
      University of Georgia
      University of Louisville
      University of Michigan
      University of Minnesota
      University of New Mexico
      University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      University of Western Australia
      Vanguard Charitable:
      The Stuart H. Hillman Fund
      Vestergaard Frandsen SA
      Virginia Commonwealth University Health System
      Vital Strategies
      The Walker School
      Waters Ireland LTD
      The Wilson Family Foundation
      Wolters Kluwer Health
      World Health Organization
      Zhejiang Disigns Diagnostics
      [link to http://www.cdcfoundation.org (secure)]

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  3. HOW IS IT THAT THEY KNEW ABOUT COVID-19 ALREADY IN 2017? (and even in in 2019?) when Covid-19 only started in Jan 2020?

    Medical Test kits (300215) exports by country in 2017
    The data here track previously existing medical devices that are now classified by the World Customs Organization as critical to tackling COVID-19
    Prepared jointly with the World Health Organization (WHO) HS classification reference for Covid-19 medical supplies 2 nd Edition This replaces the previous edition of this list. All classifications are done under the current international HS – HS 2017.
    https://wits.worldbank.org/trade/comtrade/en/country/ALL/year/2017/tradeflow/Exports/partner/WLD/nomen/h5/product/300215

  4. One counter-argument which is totally ignored in this article is that have been 189,000 deaths in the US so far and many more hospitalizations (admittedly an approximation given difficulty in categorizing certain deaths). And estimates are for that to potentially double R’L, and then there are the longer term medical conditions some (including children) are developing as a result of COVID.

    With that level of threat, is it smart to focus on the near term comfort/convenience/productivity, . . . or might some sacrifice in the near term be a very worthwhile investment in human health and human life, especially in light of the significant unknowns and uncertainty among all experts (except the author who a high degree of certainty – which is what undermines their credibility).

    That said, hopefully the near-best-case scenario you painted is indeed accurate.

    • But NONE of these deaths are from covid. They all had existing illnesses or got the flu shots which is why the article ignores it. Doctors in Israeli hospitals (not politicians) are finally coming out and telling the truth that covid is a lie and a hoax.

      • 5:48
        enough already!
        thats the point you ignoramus. this virus targets people who are weak/elderly or have pre existing conditions. these people with the virus would still be alive!

  5. This explains….
    Why the number of positives are staying steady at let then one percent even though people at not ending up in the hospital any more or getting sick and this pandemic will never end until….
    Why we don’t need masks the CDC has yet not presented one study that masks prevent transmission in asymptomatic . Take a look at Boro Park, Williamsburg and many other religious communities were mask are virtually non existence and the Virus is NOT spreading.
    Why we need to open up fully the economy we are now in a better position then we were in April the Pandemic is over in New York all the positive results are all FAKE NEWS

    • just because the virus petered out because people took it seriously in the beginning. doesn’t mean herd immunity is achieved. and it doesn’t mean the virus can’t be reintroduced into these communities. but then people like you will come up with another excuse

    • Don’t you know sports are Assur because of chukas hagoyim
      And somehow this is all not Lashon Harav, and definetly not halbanas ponim or midos ra’os to name call and personally ciricize people here sinc eit’s a frum blog and we don’t really know who eachother are!!!
      You must be a maskil (sarcastic)

      LOL

    • Sure;
      When it rains, Baseball games are postponed and the air is cleansed of the Wuhan-virus.
      Oops….
      Lemme try again.
      I hear it might actually snow in Colorado this September.
      In a way that’s good because shoveling snow is, like sports, great exercise, which boosts the immune system against a virus….
      Oh, never mind!

    • The more the media talks about covid, the more brainwashed people get and the more panicky. This is precisely what they want. How else can they force them to wear masks, social distancing and lockdowns if not by bringing on the panic?

  6. When will the mandatory vaccines come out and then the name calling can start all over again? No, I will not inject myself with highly dangerous toxins and aborted fetuses. You can bar me from entering weddings and bris milah’s etc… I enjoyed my freedoms from obligatory simcha attendance when I was kicked out during the terrible terrible measles epidemic that ravaged our community. I was able to keep all my regular sedarim.

    • A superbly excellent observation!! Throughout the big storm of the Measles (so-called) “epidemic” two years ago, in regards to being kicked out of places (for being not vaccinated), I bluntly retorted: “GOOD RIDDANCE!!” I most absolutely DO NOT WANT to be in those Shuls and those Simcha halls and those carnivals and any other place run by such mean people with such wicked policies. Furthermore, I absolutely CANNOT be physically near people who WERE recently vaccinated as they are carrying around the horrid poisons of the vaccines that were just injected into them.

  7. I’m also sick of this discussion! But! It happens to be a lot more important than your other suggestions. No one made you click on this article.

  8. Matzav has this thing about playing don the whole covid thing and trying to back those who say we can ignore it.

    This is another article full of dis-proven items meant to con the reader into following Matzav’s agenda. Matzav is giving the NY Times competition in the biased reporting field.

      • Numbers of virus circulation , numbers of transmitted cases to countries that have a lower rate of endemic cases, less-doctored statistics such as Belgium, occasionally truthful numbers such as a group of people who work in research and see with their own eyes what is “fragment shedding” and what does infect the cellular lines. Also the huge reservoirs of pets and the non-addressed issue of restrooms. And, if you go around, you can see obvious symptoms, from voice changes to red eyes, to changes in face shape, to people finding difficult to have normal physical activity e.g. a flight of stairs , to the viral-bacterial interaction “cloud” effect of virus sufferers that cause bacteria shedding (we can only hope they are harmless) all around, Last but least, size of aerosol transmission events.
        Numbers are consistent with any full-fledged epidemic. About 85% appear to have it at any given time, about 10% is a gray area (either their status is not obvious, or they refuse to have any test or medical check-up), about 5% look like they don’t have it.
        Of course I may be completely wrong, but that is what I see.

        If you are right, the virus will be controllable and, given we have a PCR test, eventually the infection will disappear, like SARS did. Please believe me I would very much like that to be the case.

  9. As usual, a letter claiming to represent reality distorts and misinterprets every source it brings.

    1) The CDC estimates that *more than half* of all spread is by asymptomatic and presymptomatic carriers. People are infectious for up to 48 hours before exhibiting symptoms. How, pray tell, do you expect to know if one will become symptomatic in the future other than by testing?

    Nobody cares how other viruses spread. We care how *this virus* spreads.

    2) Thats not what the WHO said, you’re lying to suit your own agenda. How many are going to actually click the link and find out that once again you lied and misrepresented what they said?

    3) The current PCR tests being used by the major companies have a specificity of 99.5%. While they don’t specifically detect the amount of the current viral load (which is what the NYT article actually said, not that they are false positives), it’s likely that patients who test positive will become infectious in the future.

    Nobody expects that the tests picking up old viral particle are accurate, but the people currently testing positive are all new cases without prior infections.

    We get it, you’re a sicko who refuses to take any measures whatsoever to prevent needless deaths of others if it G-d forbid may cause an inconvenience to yourself. But stop rationalizing it and shoving your biased agenda on others.

    It must be nice to live under a rock. How’s the sand?

  10. Callous, selfishly ignorant and immoral. Ever heard of Chamberlain and Munich? He declared should we have the whole world be upended just for the Czechs? and what about all the isolationists who believed their whole country and lifestyle shouldn’t be disturbed just to go save Jews!

  11. This article in nutshell: Ignorance is bliss
    Keep your hands’ off the computer and your mouths’ closed
    In the interim some older people will live longer
     
     people who have passed away in the past  weeks always propounded as anything but Corona because it will defeat the heimish brutal narrative  
     
    is what you value you and your crowds’ sickeningly selfish conveniences
    go throw away every last shred of your Teffilin And Shabbos candles

    how about go lock your families into a dungeon so the other people could be healthy

  12. How often does we demand responsibility on the the whole Community just for one person !

    You better shut down hatzolah & every organization which saves elderly
    are we obligated to sacrifice every last dollar to keep Shabbos? yes it’s an obligation
    and is incumbent on everyone to desecrate their own Shabbos and almost everything else to save one unhealthy’s life
    any who don’t is a wicked sinner

    By the way what did sodom do wrong??
    She’li She’li,V’shelach Shelach
    Can someone have a problem with that?!
    That busybody avrohom and his family..they care about others and violate every productive societal rule.

    Dare you to show This to any Sage of the generation

    In a 2009 article in Canadian Medical Association Journal, Tom Koch discussed the Polio epidemic in the 1950s. He wrote how everyone scrambled to save every life. Gymnasiums were turned into wards and cots were lined up from wall to wall.. It was an imperative to save as many lives as possible. Nobody considered costs & the quality of life of the people that were saved. He lamented that in todays society ..

  13. How often does we demand responsibility on the the whole Community just for one person !

    “We all agree that the goal of our community is to keep”
    According to Who ?!?

    better shut down hatzolah & every organization which saves elderly
    are we obligated to sacrifice every last dollar to keep Shabbos? yes it’s an obligation
    and is incumbent on everyone to desecrate their own Shabbos and almost everything else to save one unhealthy’s life
    any who don’t is a wicked sinner

    By the way what did sodom do wrong??
    She’li She’li,V’shelach Shelach
    Can someone have a problem with that?!
    That busybody avrohom and his family..they care about others and violate every productive societal rule.

    In a 2009 article in Canadian Medical Association Journal, Tom Koch discussed the Polio epidemic in the 1950s. He wrote how everyone scrambled to save every life. Gymnasiums were turned into wards and cots were lined up from wall to wall.. It was an imperative to save as many lives as possible. Nobody considered costs & the quality of life of the people that were saved. He lamented that in todays society ..

  14. an extraordinarily feeble attempt  to defend those
    which  at the moment running a  Heavenly  deficit
     your ilk bears  an obligation that someone else shouldn’t  come to a danger

    surprisingly that you’re so ignorant but the attitude is antithetical  to our faith

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