Major Saudi research center prepares to take part in advanced COVID-19 vaccine trials

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health is working with a different Chinese company to evaluate whether the vaccine it is developing is effective. (REUTERS)
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Updated 22 September 2020

Major Saudi research center prepares to take part in advanced COVID-19 vaccine trials

  • Ministry of Health and King Abdullah International Medical Research Center have been working with two Chinese drug companies

JEDDAH: King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC) in Saudi Arabia is preparing to take part in advanced trials of one or two COVID-19 vaccines.

About 40 potential vaccines are being tested on humans, nine of which are at the advanced stage of clinical trials to evaluate their safety and effectiveness in protecting people against a virus that has infected more than 31 million people around the world.

The center confirmed its readiness to cooperate with the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) and participate in tests of one or two of the nine vaccines that are in the third phase of clinical trials, during which large-scale testing on humans takes place.

Dr. Naif Al-Harbi, the head of KAIMRC’s drug-development unit, told Al-Ekhbariya TV news channel that it is unprecedented to have nine vaccines in stage three of clinical trials so soon, less than a year, after the emergence of a new virus.

“Approval or disapproval of any drug normally follows the third stage of its clinical trials, which is the last stage,” he added. “Since the pandemic, KAIMRC has been in continuous contact with a number of drug companies in four countries (that are developing vaccines).”

KAIMRC has been working with one Chinese pharmaceutical company in particular to help evaluate and accelerate the development of its vaccine, he said.

“Over the past two months, we have been in contact with Sinovac to scientifically evaluate its product, in term of the tests on animals and a study of the results of stages one and two on humans,” Al-Harbi said.


Saleh Hamad Al-Suhaibani, Saudi representative to the OIC

Updated 25 October 2020

Saleh Hamad Al-Suhaibani, Saudi representative to the OIC

Saleh Hamad Al-Suhaibani has been appointed the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) recently.

Al-Suhaibani received a bachelor’s degree in Arabic from Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University (IMSIU) in 1987.

Four years later, he achieved a master’s degree in applied linguistics from the same university with a focus on teaching Arabic to non-native speakers.

In 1998, Al-Suhaibani obtained a Ph.D. in applied linguistics from the University of Leeds, UK.

He served as the secretary-general of the Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organization (ARCO) for three  years. He has also worked as a Saudi cultural attache to the UAE. Moreover, he was an adviser to the Saudi joint committee for the relief of Kosovo and Chechnya.

He has also held a number of positions, including chairing the Arabic language department at IMSIU and the language preparatory department at the Arabic language institute at IMSIU. Al-Suhaibani was the deputy manager of the Arabic language teachers’ qualification department at the same university. Moreover, he has been the assistant director of scholarships for promotional affairs at what was formerly called the Ministry of Higher Education.

Al-Suhaibani has published dozens of research papers, including his political discourse analysis studies. He has also authored and translated several books.

He has received several awards, appreciation letters and certificates of excellence. In May 2019, ARCO awarded Al-Suhaibani with the Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq Medal, the highest Arab medal for humanitarian work.