A doctor involved in the world’s biggest coronavirus treatment trial has described it as a “ray of hope”.
The BBC has had exclusive access to Bradford Royal Infirmary, which is one of about 170 hospitals taking part in the Recovery Trial.
More than 7,000 patients across the UK are taking part in the trial, looking for potential treatments for Covid-19.
The government said results of the trial could benefit hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
As part of the trial, patients with Covid-19 are given one of four drugs – or a placebo – to test how effective they are in treating the virus.
The drugs on trial include hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug touted by US President Donald Trump as a potential treatment, as well as HIV drugs.
Dr Dinesh Saralaya, a consultant respiratory physician in Bradford, said: “There are times when we feel completely helpless, when we see the patient deteriorating before our eyes.
“It’s so crucial to do these trials so that we can actually find a treatment for these patients.
“The Recovery Trial has been like a ray of hope.”
People over the age of 18 who are admitted to hospital with coronavirus have been recruited into the trial, known as Recovery – short for Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 Therapy.
Prof John Wright, head of the Bradford Institute for Health Research, said: “There has never been a medical research study as important as the studies we’re doing for Covid-19.
“We do not have an effective treatment for Covid-19, we need it urgently, patients in the ward who are dying day after day need treatments to save their lives.”
There are currently 57 patients in Bradford participating in the trial, which is being co-ordinated by the University of Oxford.
Researchers have also sent out thousands of questionnaires to participants in the Born in Bradford project – a study tracking the lives of more than 30,000 people – to examine the longer-term effects of the virus.
When the Recovery Trial was announced earlier this month, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The UK is leading the way on research in the race to find treatments and we have now launched the largest trial in the world, pooling resources with our world-leading life science sector.”
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