Providing severely ill coronavirus patients with a steady supply of oxygen-enriched air instead of putting them on mechanical ventilators boosts their chances of pulling through, local researchers have confirmed in a paper published earlier this week in The Lancet’s journal, EClinical Medicine (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100570).

The study provides important confirmation that the high-flow nasal oxygen (HFNO) therapy pioneered in two Western Cape hospitals early in SA’s coronavirus epidemic in anticipation of a shortage of ventilators, does indeed help Covid-19 patients with breathing problems. It is the largest published study of its kind to date and builds on evidence for the benefits of HFNO described in a smaller French study, published in the European Respiratory Journal in August.

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