AIREDALE Hospital is recruiting Covid-19 patients to take part in a groundbreaking new study into the disease.

More than a dozen people have already been signed-up by Airedale NHS Foundation Trust to participate in the national research.

It is hoped the project – being spearheaded by the GenOMICC Study Consortium, led by the University of Edinburgh, and Genomics England – will provide a better understanding of the virus’ varied effects on people and support the quest for treatments.

Airedale is among more than 170 NHS hospitals involved in the initiative.

The study will sequence the genomes – the DNA of organisms – of 20,000 people severely ill with Covid-19.

Data collected by Airedale and other hospitals will then be compared to that from a further 15,000 patients who experienced only mild symptoms.

It is hoped the study will help explain why some people who contract the virus only suffer minor effects while in others it can cause serious illness and prove fatal.

The work at Airedale will be headed-up by research nurse, Brigid Hairsine.

Dr Carole Paley, head of research and innovation at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The GenOMICC study is essential in improving our understanding of coronavirus and why some people get very ill from the infection whereas others only have a mild illness. This will help with decisions about appropriate treatments for the disease.”

Dr Kenneth Baillie, chief investigator on the GenOMICC study, said its genetic studies had begun four years ago but had been greatly expanded since the outbreak of Covid-19.

And he welcomed Airedale’s involvement in the venture.

He added: “Our genes play a role in determining who becomes desperately sick with infections like Covid-19. Understanding these genes will help us to choose treatments for clinical trials.

“The GenOMICC study has been running since 2016 and has been investigating genetic factors that impact how patients fare in response to a number of severe illnesses.

“Since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak – with the tremendous support of the critical care community – the study has expanded and accelerated enormously and we are now recruiting in over 170 ICUs. I am delighted to be working with Airedale NHS Foundation Trust to deliver this important work.”