We believe that we can radically improve outcomes in the second wave, compared with the first wave because we now have treatments available, which gives us cause for hope.

The reason why silent hypoxia is so important is illustrated by the first-stage findings of the RECOVERY trial (the national clinical trial testing a range of treatments for covid-19).

These showed that the steroid dexamethasone reduces the chances of fatality for patients requiring oxygen by around 30%, which is very significant.


No Dexamethasone

With Dexamethasone

Invasive ventilation



Oxygen treatment



We need to wait for results on other treatments coming through from the RECOVERY trial. But the benefits from dexamethasone, and from a similar steroid, hydrocortisone, give us cause for hope that we can improve outcomes for patients being admitted in the early phase of their illness, as opposed to too late.

The advantage of steroid medications is that they can be prescribed to and taken by patients at home. This is in contrast to other treatments, including remdesivir and oxygen, which need to be administered in a medical setting.