TREATMENTS for adults with the coronavirus are to be tested at Royal Bournemouth and Poole hospitals after they agreed to take part in a new nationwide trial.

Their patients with Covid-19 will be offered the opportunity to take part in the University of Oxford’s Recovery project which aims to identify the most effective treatments.

Martin Schuster-Bruce, an intensive care consultant at Royal Bournemouth Hospital, said it was “incredibly encouraging” it had joined and that its first volunteers had already agreed to participate.

Last month, the government awarded £2.1 million to the trial which is being led by professor of emerging infectious diseases and global health, Peter Horby.

Following its launch, he said it would focus on treatments already identified as being potentially effective for Covid-19 but kept “as flexible as possible” to include emerging evidence.

“There are a number of drugs that are being suggested to be used in these patients but we really don’t know if they’re effective or not,” he said.

“There are some people that would argue ‘well let’s just give them anyway’ but then we really don’t know if we’re giving the best care.

“We need to get the evidence so that we can move forward with confidence. The best way to do that is with a clinical trial.”

These drugs being tested so far are lopinavir-ritonavir, which is used to treat HIV; low doses of the steroid dexamethasone; and hydroxychloroquine, which is related to an anti-malarial drug.

Hospitals across the country are taking part with Royal Bournemouth and Poole hospitals becoming the latest to agree to take part.

Their coronavirus patients will be offered the opportunity to be enrolled to be given one of the treatments on top of the standard NHS care.

Others will go through the normal care process with no extra drugs given.

Martin Schuster-Bruce said: “I am incredibly encouraged by our participation in this trial.

“It’s a really positive step towards identifying more effective treatments for patients and I hope it offers some reassurance to both the public and staff as we manage this unprecedented pandemic.”

As of Friday, Royal Bournemouth Hospital said its first three patients being treated for the coronavirus had agreed to take part.