Members of the QEH research and development team.

Patients at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital are taking part in a national trial in a bid to find out more about coronavirus.

The trial, involving 10 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, will focus on researching genetics and the impact of the virus.

It is part of a campaign to gather information from 20,000 patients nationwide.

It is hoped the research will help scientists understand if a person’s genetics influences their susceptibility to COVID-19. 

Genetic information of severely ill patients taken from a DNA sample will be compared to that of patients who have mild symptoms.

Chris Wigley, chief executive of Genomics England, working in partnership with the NHS for the research, said: “At Genomics England we are extremely proud to be working with the NHS and other partners in the fight against COVID-19, to understand why people respond differently to this infection.  

“We are delighted to be able to contribute to the national response to this terrible pandemic, using the experience we have gained through the 100,000 Genomes Project and leveraging our ongoing commitment to genomic research and healthcare.”

Dr Antonia Hardcastle, research lead for the King’s Lynn hospital, added: “We are pleased to be able to offer our patients the chance to take part in this vital research and help build the evidence we need to respond to the pandemic.  

“The trust has recruited more than 400 patients to research trials in the past two months and would like to thank everyone for their help.”

The study is a response to urgent public health research and is the second COVID-related study the QEH is conducting. 

This week there have been six COVID deaths of QEH patients, bringing the total so far to 140. 

The number of QEH patients discharged after being diagnosed with coronavirus is now 257.