A Highly Viral Video by the Oxford RECOVERY Trial?

There is a video on YouTube showing how to seek consent from volunteer patients to participate in the RECOVERY trial. 

The video, which serves as training for health care workers, includes multiple instances where the virus may have spread because of inadequate precautionary measures, both for the staff and the patient’s relatives.


In this video, one can expect three people may have been infected, in addition to the patient! As the video served as training to seek consent from thousands of patients or their relatives, it may indeed have had serious consequences.

After introductory remarks, where hope is expressed about “how the RECOVERY trial will make treatment better for COVID-19,” a first slide indicates: 

“it is important that you wear appropriate PPE during contact with a patient with COVID-19.”

It’s acknowledged that, to ensure good audio quality, the “consenter” is not wearing a mask in the video, apparently shot on March 17.

The patients are told that they will “still receive the best care currently available” even if they do not enter the trial.

We now know that such “best care currently available” has led to high fatality rates in the UK, nearing 25%.

According to the video, the additional treatment randomly provided in the trial would only improve a patient’s outcome, over what results from “usual care.”

In the video, the person acting as a health care worker may not be wearing a mask, but barely has any personal protective equipment. 

With such low level of protection, even with a mask, it’s pretty clear that the infection likelihood is pretty high.

The video training says the consent form itself is not considered to be potentially infected, as long as the consenter and consentee have washed their hands, which is another questionable statement.

On the video also appears a witness, the wife of the patient, who is totally unprotected even in an area where the virus is present. 

Minimum social distancing between the health care worker and the witness is not respected either on this training video.

The fourth person featured in the video is the sister of the patient, who is acting like a legal representative, because the patient is unable to sign the form. 

She is in very close proximity of the likely infected health care worker, and puts her own life at risk.

And it could of course to be the other way round. The wife or the sister being infected, and passing the virus to the health care worker.

So one COVID-19 patient (not absolutely sure, as we now know there was no systematic testing done in the RECOVERY trial), could easily have led to 3 new infections, from what transpires from this video.

The video concludes with these words:

“Thank you very much for watching. Please make sure you use your own trusted infection control procedures. We did our best in this video, but they might not match for what you do in your own hospitals.”  

“But for now, if you can follow the instructions on the website, so we can record you have completed this training, that would be great. Thank You.”

With that kind of procedures, one wonders how many health care workers and relatives of patients were infected into the participating hospitals …

To be noted is that patient volunteers were likely misled by the RECOVERY Trial, which claimed on its website:

“About 19 out of 20 patients who get coronavirus get better without coming to hospital. Of those who are admitted to hospital, most also get better, but some may need oxygen or mechanical ventilation before they do so. However, a few percent do not get better.”

Reality is that, with a 24.2% case fatality rate among hospitalized patients, and probably a much higher share than 5% requiring hospitalization, getting this disease in the UK was and remains much more dangerous than described.

The UK has one of the worst records in the world in dealing with the pandemic, surpassing other European countries such as Spain, France and Italy, with a fatality rate of 602 death per million inhabitants.

The UK is one of the few countries in the world, like Canada, to have adopted a strict policy of not using early treatments for the disease. It decided instead to wait for the outcome of research trials, such as the Oxford RECOVERY trial, which are actually not focusing on early treatment – the stage of the disease where therapy is now known to be much more effective.

The pandemic is far from over in the UK. Just yesterday, the country reported 1,741 new cases, almost 50% of the whole of Europe, and 286 new deaths.

See our previous coverage about the Oxford RECOVERY COVID-19 research.