Tabitha Mahungu

Consultant virologist and infectious diseases physician

Tabitha joined the Royal Free Hospital as a consultant in 2015 but prior to this had clinical training posts at the trust in infectious diseases, microbiology and virology.

“I think I have an incredibly interesting job,” said Tabitha. “I’m a virologist but I also work with the HIV and infectious diseases teams, which speaks to both sides of my training, so I get to do both the diagnostic and the clinical.

“A lot of the patients we consult on are quite niche as they might either have been born immunocompromised or have acquired this due, for example, to a transplant or HIV. One of my areas of interest is infections in pregnancy. There is never a dull day. COVID-19 has increased everyone’s interest and interaction with our department. Most COVID-19 patient pathways involve virology and infection control.

“At the peak of the pandemic we were stretched. It was 12 hour days working with no let up – the nights were as busy as the days. Virology was often the first point of call as diagnosis was crucial.”

There are reasons to be positive going forward, says Tabitha. “We now know so much more and we can do so much more.”