Meet the people behind the NHS Test and Trace team: Dr. Belinda Nedjai, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Epidemiology and Director of the Molecular Epidemiology Lab
A laboratory from Queen Mary University of London has joined the ranks in supporting the NHS Test and Trace. Leading the efforts are Professor Mauro Perretti, Dean for Research and Research Impact, and Dr Belinda Nedjai, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Epidemiology and Director of the Molecular Epidemiology Lab.
Today, Dr. Belinda Nedjai shares how and why she’s playing her part to support the NHS Test and Trace programme.
How did you get involved in the NHS Test and Trace programme?
My lab at Queen Mary University of London is part of the MedCity COVID-19 Testing Alliance. We responded to a call from the government last year to help increase testing capacity in the UK. Queen Mary decided to join, and I put my lab forward for this project.
Why did you decide to get involved in the testing programme?
This is a really important cause for me as a scientist, a citizen and as a mum. I’ve seen too many people around me suffering with this terrible disease. Helping the community has always been my life’s motive one way or another, so, supporting the NHS Test and Trace appeared to be the best way to contribute towards this national effort.
Also, I have had experience with other viruses such as papillomavirus and I am surrounded by a great team of experts including a virologist, molecular biologist and many more, so I believe we could do a good job.
What is MedCity and the Testing Alliance?
MedCity is a health and life sciences cluster organisation for the UK’s south east region and London. Last year, MedCity formed the COVID-19 Testing Alliance in a bid to ramp up the diagnostic testing capacity for the NHS Test and Trace by involving academic institutions like University College London, King’s College London, Imperial College London and Queen Mary University of London.
The alliance is using untapped resources and building on existing infrastructure and is anticipated to grow to offer at least 20,500 more COVID-19 tests a day for the UK.