Students on the COVID-19 frontline – Lylah’s story

vial of blood with corona cell illustration

Students from the University of Birmingham Medical School have been supporting our NHS Birmingham Health Partners members on the wards, in family liaison, and in research and development. Here, medical student Lylah Irshad shares her experience of assisting with the latest research developments in response to coronavirus.

Lylah IrshadWhen I volunteered to be part of the medical student support scheme, I did not imagine that I would become part of a COVID-19 research team. When I started out in R&D, I had relatively little research experience. However, 7 weeks later and my knowledge and understanding have grown immensely. This unique opportunity has enabled me to be involved with the latest research developments throughout the COVID-19 response.

My roles in R&D have ranged from recording minutes in senior research group meetings, to searching for missing information in large datasets. I have also spent time collecting data about patients recruited to clinical trials, where my experience as a medical student proved particularly useful in understanding clinical information, such as respiratory values and inflammatory markers.

By attending weekly research facilitation group meetings, I now understand the various stages and requirements of clinical trials, from CMO approval, feasibility and set-up, through to entry of patient information onto databases. Working alongside key members of the COVID-19 research team, I have a new appreciation of the efforts that go into research trials.

Since my first day, I felt like part of the team and was warmly welcomed by everyone in R&D. The past two months have highlighted the importance of effective communication and teamwork. Working in R&D has been both a learning curve and also a highly enjoyable experience. I would like to thank everyone in R&D for their kindness and hospitality and wish them all the best throughout the COVID period.

Find out about studying at Birmingham Medical School