21/06/2021 | Press releases

Expert in viruses joins ESNEFT

Working in a laboratory conjures up thoughts of people in white coats and protective suits studying slides under a microscope.

Although there’s some truth to the image – the role of a clinical virologist is far broader.

Dr Mubby Husain has become the first consultant virologist at ESNEFT, and he’s joined the infection and microbiology team during the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) to help tackle the virus and other patient-acquired infections.

“To an extent everyone feels they’ve become a bit of a virologist themselves during the last year, having heard so much about viruses and how they mutate.” Said Mubby.

But virology is a highly specialist standalone area.

The role of a clinical virologist means working as part of an infection team focusing primarily on the diagnosis, management, and prevention of viral infections.

Mubby added: “My role is part of Project 3000 – a new molecular laboratory to develop the molecular infectious diseases service while providing an inhouse virology specialist service to support infection control and patient care.”

Dr Mubby Husain, Consultant Virologist
Dr Mubby Husain, Consultant Virologist

Having worked through several previous epidemics, including influenza H1N1(swine flu), MERS CoV and Ebola, across the NHS and Public Health England, Mubby has many years of experience at large hospitals dealing with a range of infection issues he’s keen to bring to the role.

“My focus is virological primarily, and part of my work involves reviewing and authorising significant test results from patients and working closely with my microbiology and infection control colleagues in advising hospital clinical teams, infection control, GPs and community health protection.

“I help clinical teams investigate and manage patients with viral infections such as herpes viruses, hepatitis, HIV, complex infections in immunocompromised patients including transplant, haematology and oncology and returning travellers with potential imported exotic infections.

“My work includes advising on the diagnosis and management of congenital and pregnancy related infections too.

“I’ve previously been involved with clinics in hepatitis, travel medicine and helped with the management of complex HIV cases. I review the clinical management and interpret the molecular and serology tests providing advice on the patient’s treatment.”

Virology has gained a new prominence as a specialty in the NHS because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Before the pandemic, the role existed mainly in large hospitals.

Mubby said: “SARS CoV 2 – or COVID-19 – is the ultimate pandemic virus – it’s infectiousness before symptoms has made it a challenge to control, especially in the hospital setting. Viruses naturally evolve and the rise of variants due to mutations presents a further challenge to diagnostics and vaccines.

“I am looking forward to building on the incredible work already done by my colleagues in microbiology, the molecular lab, infection control and pathology across both Colchester and Ipswich. Without their efforts I wouldn’t be here and with their help, I hope I can make a positive impact on patient care in ESNEFT.”

Mubby is helping to streamline molecular testing in the lab and reviewing the diagnostic virology infrastructure at ESNEFT across both Colchester and Ipswich hospitals.

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