A leading public health expert has revealed she was sent white powder and a used face mask in the post last summer.
Prof Devi Sridhar, of Edinburgh University, said the words “I am done” were written in black ink on the mask.
She has previously received abuse on social media after commenting on vaccines and face coverings.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned the “horrendous abuse” of women in the public eye.
Prof Sridhar is a professor of global public health and sits on the Scottish government’s coronavirus advisory board.
She told the Times newspaper that something about being sent items in the post felt different to previous abusive incidents.
She said: “I was extremely shaken and it was probably the hardest part because it was in my real life, not virtual or online.
“I have thought often about withdrawing but it feels like, for better or worse, my job now also has a public dimension. Hopefully it’s helpful to have scientists out there explaining things for most people.”
‘Voice of reason’
Ms Sturgeon said Prof Sridhar had been a “hugely important and valuable” adviser to the government and given very straight and “at times uncomfortable” advice.
Speaking to the PA news agency, she said: “Devi is an example of a high-profile, vocal woman who gets horrendous abuse through social media – she’s not alone in that but I know she has received that.
“She has been a real voice of reason and good sense throughout this pandemic, but like many women who put their heads above the parapet they face the most horrendous abuse and it’s got to stop.
“Social media companies and others really have to be part of putting a stop to it.”