Saudi minister meets Latin American scholar

Saudi Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh receives Ahmed ben Ali Saifi, head of the Islamic Dawah Center in Latin America and the Caribbean, in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 19 December 2018

Saudi minister meets Latin American scholar

  • Scholar lauded the efforts of Saudi Arabia in supporting Muslims all over the world

JEDDAH: Ahmed ben Ali Saifi, head of the Islamic Dawah Center in Latin America and the Caribbean, called on Saudi Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh at his office on Tuesday.

Welcoming the visiting scholar, the Saudi minister said the Kingdom under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been extending a helping hand to all Islamic centers and associations across the world to promote moderate values, tolerance and peaceful coexistence.

Ali Saifi lauded the efforts of Saudi Arabia in supporting Muslims all over the world. He also praised the Kingdom’s generous support to the annual International Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Muslims. He said his center and all its branches pledge their support to Saudi Arabia against unjust campaigns targeting its security and sovereignty. At the 31st session of the international conference held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, participants called for rejecting extremism and terrorism and upholding universal Islamic principles in order to preserve the spirit of Islamic tradition and correct misconceptions.


Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials

Updated 16 January 2021

Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials

  • It will go through rigorous testing and several trial stages before it is approved for use by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority

RIYADH: Preclinical studies on the first Saudi vaccine against COVID-19 have been completed.

Professor of epidemiology Dr. Iman Almansour, who heads the team of researchers working on the vaccine at the Institute for Research and Medical Consultations (IRMC), affiliated with Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU), confirmed to Arab News on Friday that the studies were complete, and said clinical trials would begin as soon as “the proper approvals” had been given.

She did not specify when that is expected to happen.

The Ministry of Education is financing the team’s project. The team’s research paper has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Pharmaceuticals.

The vaccine is given to the body to build protein inside cells, which stimulate the body to produce immunity specific to the S antigen.

Dr. Iman Almansour, professor of epidemiology

According to the published paper, the vaccine has so far proven effective, when used on animals, in eliciting antibodies that will target the virus. “The vaccine is given to the body to build protein inside cells, which stimulate the body to produce immunity specific to the S antigen,” Dr. Almansour explained.

Dr. Turki Almugaiteeb, director of Healthcare and Life Sciences at RPD Innovations, which runs the National Vaccine and Biomanufacturing Center, told Arab News: “There is a great focus on the results of medical research because of the pandemic. Research can play a great role in developing a vaccine that can be adopted and further developed in the future. We can say that the Kingdom has a strong infrastructure, which can help produce and manufacture a national vaccine.”

Both Almugaiteeb and Almansour stressed that the experimental vaccine will need to go through rigorous testing and several trial stages before it is approved for use by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.

Prof. Nasser Al-Aqeeli, the deputy minister of education for research and innovation, said the ministry supported programs at the Kingdom’s universities with more than SR500 million ($133.3 million) in 2020.