This is how researchers at Leeds hospitals are helping fight the battle against coronavirus

Researchers at hospitals in Leeds are working with patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 to help in the fight against he virus.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT), which runs Leeds General Infirmary and St James's, has quickly assembled an organisation-wide Covid-19 team of research nurses and clinical trials assistants.

They are providing a seven day a week service to help clinical teams identify and recruit patients for a number of national and international research studies.

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The Trust is also working closely with experts from the University of Leeds, who are investigating the reasons why some patients develop a severe illness from Covid-19, as opposed to the mild to moderate symptoms most people experience.

Testing for coronavirus (photo: Ben Birchall / PA Wire).

Funded by LTHT’s charity partner, Leeds Cares, the team aim to create a Covid-19 biobank to better understand and identify the high risk patients more quickly.

It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock said research into a treatment for coronavirus is “essential to our plan” for tackling the epidemic, and that the UK was carrying out world-leading trials into the disease.

Speaking at the daily press briefing on Friday (April 3), Mr Hancock said: “We are bringing together some of the finest research minds in the country to design new trials and we’re delivering them at record pace.

“We have established three national clinical trials covering each major stage of the disease – primary care, hospital care and critical care for the most seriously ill.

“These trials are looking at the effectiveness of existing drugs and steroids, re-purposed for treatment for Covid-19.

“One of the trials, which is called recovery and deals in hospital care, is the largest of its kind in the world, with 926 patients involved.”

Leeds hospitals are now recruiting patients to the RECOVERY Trial, national clinical trial that aims to identify treatments that may be beneficial to adults hospitalised with Covid-19, hosted by Oxford University.

The trial is looking at how existing approved treatments for conditions such as HIV and malaria could be repurposed to treat Covid-19.

Dr Jacqueline Andrews, Director of Research and Innovation at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said: “LTHT is playing a crucial role in the global research effort against Covid-19.

"We have a number of research studies now open and are as ever extremely grateful for the help and support provided by our patients and staff.

"For those who are hospitalised through Covid-19, we want to let you know that you may be asked to take part in a research study.

"Our Covid-19 research delivery team will be on hand to speak to interested patients who fit the criteria for each study.”

Leeds Cares CEO Esther Wakeman said: “It’s fantastic that Leeds Teaching Hospitals is already involved in national research for Covid-19.

"Here in Leeds we have amazing expertise in personalised medicine and that’s why Leeds Cares is helping to fund the establishment of a biobank.

"This localised study will help us to understand why some patients may react to the virus more severely than others.”