Home+EXPLOREHealthScientist who found Ebola virus is sleeping just two hours a night trying to invent a vaccine that will stop coronavirus deaths
Scientist who found Ebola virus is sleeping just two hours a night trying to invent a vaccine that will stop coronavirus deaths
February 2, 2020
Kate Broderick, 42, has been fighting infectious diseases for more than 20 years
She said how she averages at two hours sleep a night while developing vaccine
Dr Broderick developing vaccine at pharmaceutical company Inovio, San Diego
A British scientist is sleeping for just two hours as a night as
she races against the clock to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
Kate Broderick, 42, from Scotland, has been fighting infectious
diseases for more than 20 years including successful vaccines for ebola, zika and Mers
(Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).
Dr Broderick has told how she feels a ‘personality responsibility’
to do everything in her power to develop a vaccine and averages just a couple
of hours sleep while testing on mice and guinea pigs during the day.
‘I’ve spent my entire life working towards making a difference in
an outbreak setting like this and I will do whatever it takes,’ she told The Times.
The vaccine expert moved to the States following her PhD from
Glasgow where she took up a job with the University of California to work on a
therapeutic solution to sepsis.
Alongside her team of researchers at pharmaceutical company
Inovio, based in San Diego, Dr Broderick is working around the clock to create
a vaccine that has claimed 249 lives with 11,946 cases
‘I personally am averaging about two hours’ sleep a night at the
moment,’ Dr Broderick said.
The virus continues to spread around the world with Spain
confirming its first case today after a German tourist was taken ill with
the infection while on holiday in the Canary Islands.
It comes as two people tested positive to coronavirus in Britain
yesterday with one of the victims confirmed to be a student at the University
The vaccine expert described how it was hard not to ‘internalise’
the suffering of people around the world who have been affected by the
The mother-of-two told how she was on holiday on New Year’s Eve
when she first heard about reports of the illness in Wuhan.
Just days after Chinese authorities released the genetic code of the virus online, Dr Broderick and her colleagues designed a vaccine within three hours against the virus.
She said the design went straight into manufacturing the following
day after gene-based medicines can be created in much larger quantities within
To provide vaccine doses for the 1.4billion population of China,
Dr Broderick said a 220-gallon fermenter would be needed to tackle the
In order to distribute the vaccine, her team has been given a
£7.5million grant from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness
Innovations, an initiative backed by Bill Gates.
Dr Broderick said healthcare workers who are in contact with
coronavirus patients would be vaccinated first and then people with underlying
If the vaccine is still not contained, the entire population would
The most worrying element of the virus for Dr Broderick is the
14-day incubation period with some people experiencing only mild symptoms.
She described how people could be going for dinner and meeting
friends without even knowing they are spreading the
‘Ticking time bomb is very strong imagery but it is extremely
concerning,’ she added.
Mild symptoms of the virus are a dry cough coupled with feeling
lethargic which may mean people are not going to get themselves checked, Dr
She added how ‘viruses don’t respect borders’ and the length of
the incubation period has led to the speed at which coronavirus has accelerated
around the world.
It comes as 83 British passengers from Wuhan are being quarantined
in NHS housing at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral for 14 days – after which
they will be allowed to leave provided they are clear of the virus.
Dr Broderick said holding people in isolation for the incubation
period is ‘the smartest thing’ as she described her doubts over protective face
She told how similar to glasses, the masks ‘never fit perfectly’ to keep viruses out.
The Scot told how she hopes clinical trials can start in ‘early
summer’ with her team in talks with the US Food and Drug Administration to
secure ’emergency-use authorisation’ to distribute the vaccine
She added how a combination of factors including global travel,
population growth, people living closer to wildlife and climate change allow
viruses to spread easier.
Speaking about climate change she said: ‘Viruses are spread from animals and as a result of climate change, animals move habitat.’ SOURCE