A SCOTTISH scientist helping to create a coronavirus vaccine says one million jabs will be ready for distribution by the end of the year.

Dr Kate Broderick, originally from Dunfermline, heads up a team of scientists at pharmaceutical giant Inovio in San Diego, California, aiming to fast-track a Covid-19 vaccine.

Speaking to the Scotsman, she said frontline medical staff and people with underlying conditions would be prioritised.

The 42-year-old, who praised Nicola Sturgeon’s response to the pandemic, admitted that “not in my worst nightmares did I think it was going to get as bad as this”.

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The Inovio team has been tasked with creating a vaccine in six months and has already performed successful tests on animals.

Broderick – who studied at Glasgow University before doing post-doctoral research at the University of California – said that once the initial batch of doses are produced by the end of 2020, the plan is to scale up the operation to produce up to 100 million doses next year.

“We’ll have a million doses and even though that sounds a lot, it’s really not that many when you spread it out over everybody who wants it – so that’s a start,” the Scot explained.

“Then over the next six months to a year following that, we’d really scale up the manufacture so we had 50 to 100 million doses.

“The most affected and people who would be most impacted – so it would primarily go to first responders, medical personnel and then also potentially people with other health conditions.

“It’s hard to work out a costing structure [for the vaccine] until we know where we are in terms of epidemiology.”

Observing developments at home, Broderick said that Sturgeon and the Scottish Government were “completely right” in their response so far.

The scientist stated the plans would prevent coronavirus becoming “worse than you can imagine” and warned: “If you don’t do this now – it’s going to be so, so, much worse.”

Broderick also dismissed suggestions “herd immunity” could be achieved without a vaccine after Boris Johnson’s government suggested it was achievable in the early stages of the outbreak.

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She said: “Herd immunity is a really important part of this process but we’re not going to get herd immunity until we have a vaccine.

“So herd immunity is important but we’re nowhere close to having anything like that at the moment.

“There’s a critical mass of the population who are protected and this percentage differs depending on the virus to be considered a herd immunity.

“The vaccine would provide immunity and the others who aren’t immune would be somehow protected because there would be less cases of the coronavirus in society.”

Broderick also warned that there are no guarantees the vaccine would rule out future pandemics.

She stated: “A virus can mutate, it can change – it could just disappear and we’ll never, ever see it again. That’s a possibility but I wouldn’t rely on any of those things as we’ve just no idea.”