BASINGSTOKE and North Hampshire hospital is part of a major national trial that is testing three potential coronavirus cures.

Patients that are recovering from the virus at Basingstoke, Andover and Winchester hospitals are being asked to be part of the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy, also known as Recovery.

If they agree, they will be given either the usual coronavirus treatment or a HIV drug, an anti-inflammatory steroid or an anti-malarial drug.

Recovery is one of three trials that are currently being run across the country to try and come up with a potential vaccine.

Announcing the development on Thursday evening, Alex Whitfield, Chief Executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said progress was "really good", although it was too soon to tell whether any were successful.

"There's quite a lot of real rapid research going on," she told the Gazette.

"[Patients] get randomised, so they either receive the normal treatment, which is what you get otherwise, or they receive one of these drugs that we think will help cure it in the long run.

"We've only just opened for patients in the last couple of weeks, we're trying to ask everyone that comes into the hospitals.

"The reason [the drugs] are getting the national trials is that there is some indication that they might be helpful, but they're drugs that we wouldn't necessarily otherwise be able to access for these patients, so it gives people access to treatment that they wouldn't have otherwise had if they weren't part of the trial."

She added that a large sample size was needed across the country, to ensure that the drug is really causing the improvement in conditions, rather than the patient naturally getting better.

She added these drugs are routinely used for other means, so they're definitely safe for the patients.