Saudi Hajj Ministry launches first ‘Mashair’ series

Sarhouda Stiti, an elderly Algerian woman, fulfilled her dream of performing Umrah for the first time this year. (Supplied)
Updated 30 November 2019

Saudi Hajj Ministry launches first ‘Mashair’ series

  • Initial episodes of the program featured on Twitter

MAKKAH: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has launched the first season of “Mashair,” a series that conveys the feelings of the guests of Allah and their stories when arriving in Makkah to perform Hajj and Umrah.

Ayman bin Mohammed Al-Arfaj, general supervisor of the media center at the ministry, said that “Mashair” aims to highlight the efforts of Saudi Arabia and its citizens in serving the guests of Allah.

He added that “Mashair” is an expression of the efforts of the ministry in improving the quality of services provided to pilgrims and visitors in cooperation with partners and other governmental agencies.

The ministry began featuring the first episodes of the program on its official Twitter account, which featured Sarhouda Stiti, an Algerian lady who fulfilled her dream of performing Umrah for the first time this year.


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.