BORDERS patients have signed up to the world’s largest treatment trial for coronavirus, according to NHS Borders.

Hospital patients diagnosed with COVID-19 are being invited to take part in the project, with a total of 20 local residents consenting so far.

Consultant cardiologist Anne Scott, the leader of the RECOVERY trial in the Borders, said staff are encouraging as many patients as possible to sign up.

Dr Scott said: “Clinical trials can be challenging for small health boards like NHS Borders but we are keen to offer all our patients the opportunity to be at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.”

The programme, led by the University of Oxford, is trying to assess the effectiveness of various treatments – including one commonly used on people with HIV.

Another treatment is based on blood collected from recovered virus patients.

Some of the patients taking part will be given normal care, while others will receive the additional treatments.

NHS Borders says thousands of people across the UK are taking part in the study across 176 sites.

The local health board’s medical director Cliff Sharp described the trial as a “major milestone”.

He added: “Whilst we need to find effective treatments for those who fall ill, the public still has a crucial role to play by continuing to follow government guidelines so that together we can protect the NHS and save lives.”

Funding for the trial has come from sources including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Department for International Development and Health Data Research UK.

A spokesperson for the trial said: "A range of potential treatments have been suggested for COVID-19 but nobody knows if any of them will turn out to be more effective in helping people recover than the usual standard of hospital care which all patients will receive."