Dr. Iman Al-Mansour, assistant professor at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University in Dammam

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Updated 24 January 2021

Dr. Iman Al-Mansour, assistant professor at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University in Dammam

Dr. Iman Al-Mansour is an assistant professor at the Institute for Research and Medical Consultations (IRMC), affiliated with Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU), in Dammam.

Al-Mansour led many research projects from conception to execution at the department of epidemic diseases research at IAU and supervised graduate students and junior scientists.

She acted as the principal investigator on a number of key research projects related to the development of nucleic acid-based vaccines, the establishment of several virus bioinformatics databases and analysis resources, and virus immune monitoring studies.

Al-Mansour believes that investment in vaccine research is an important step to combat epidemics and pandemics caused by new viruses. This is followed by the localization of the manufacturing of vaccines and biological medicines.

She served as a Ph.D. researcher at the nucleic acid vaccine (NAV) lab at the University of Massachusetts, US, where she conducted rigorous research in the design, generation, and testing of DNA vaccines expressing HA’s of influenza (H1N1) strains.

Al-Mansour’s research is focused on cutting-edge technology to develop prophylactic vaccines against emerging and re-emerging viruses.

She earned a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering and biotechnology from the University of Massachusetts, US, and a master’s degree in clinical laboratory sciences from the University of Rhode Island, US.

Al-Mansour received her bachelor’s in medical laboratory technology from IAU.

She is also an academic member at the European Virus Bioinformatics Center (EVBC), Germany, and a member at the International Society for Global health (ISoGH), in the UK.


Saudi, Chilean ministers discuss agriculture ties

Updated 19 min 8 sec ago

Saudi, Chilean ministers discuss agriculture ties

RIYADH: Saudi Deputy Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Mansour Al-Mushaiti received the deputy minister of foreign affairs for international economic relations in Chile, Rodrigo Yanez, and his accompanying delegation in Riyadh.

They discussed strengthening economic partnerships and Saudi agricultural investment abroad, in addition to inviting the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Co. and Saudi investors to explore investment opportunities in Chile.

During the meeting, Al-Mushaiti affirmed the strength of economic relations between Saudi Arabia and Chile.

The two sides also reviewed aspects of bilateral cooperation, advantages and investment opportunities in Chile and its most prominent agricultural products.

The Saudi side welcomed the Chileans’ desire to increase the percentage of its products in the Saudi market and benefit from the Saudi desalination sector’s successful experiences.
 


Saudi health ministry widens vaccine program as 356 new cases reported

Updated 25 min 59 sec ago

Saudi health ministry widens vaccine program as 356 new cases reported

  • The Kingdom reported five new coronavirus-related deaths

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will begin extending its coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine program beyond those with health conditions and the elderly, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly urged people to register for vaccination early, saying this will help both the public and the ministry.

While the focus is still on those aged 65 and over, the vaccine rollout will now be widened to include other segments of the population, he said.

The Saudi Food and Drug Authority has approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, and is evaluating four other vaccines, spokesman Tayseer Al-Mufarij said.

A total of 639,587 people have been inoculated so far.

Al-Abd Al-Aly said that Taakad centers are still administering coronavirus tests, while anyone with possible symptoms can visit one of the specially equipped Tetamman clinics.

The clinics have received 2,008,083 patients, while 28,040,237 people have benefited from consultation services by calling ministry representatives on 937.

On Thursday, the Kingdom reported five new coronavirus-related deaths, lifting the toll since the pandemic began to 6,480.

A total of 356 new cases were reported, raising the number of those infected to 376,377. There are 2,574 active cases, with 473 in a critical condition.

“We are monitoring fluctuations in regions of the Kingdom. Some have seen an increase in cases while others have fewer cases. This shows we are not at a completely stable state yet. We must exert more efforts to feel at ease,” Al-Abd Al-Aly said.

According to the ministry, 180 of the newly recorded cases were in the Riyadh region, 80 in the Eastern Province, 37 in Makkah and 13 in Qassim. The rest of the regions reported cases in single figures.

A total of 308 recoveries brought the overall number in the Kingdom to 367,323.

Testing on 45,608 people lifted the overall number of conducted PCR tests to 13,509,412.
 


SDRPY launches locust control project in Yemen

Updated 34 min ago

SDRPY launches locust control project in Yemen

  • The aim of the project is to protect vegetation and agricultural crops

ADEN: The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) has launched the desert locust control project in Yemen in collaboration with the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the Yemeni Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation.

The aim of the project is to protect vegetation and agricultural crops, and contain the damage that would be caused by desert locusts in Yemen.

SDRPY has provided logistical support to the project including five four-wheel drive vehicles, 100 backpack sprayers, 20 tons of pesticides, five spraying protective suits, 10 emergency bags, five pesticide spray devices for vehicles with a total capacity of 600 liters, five generators, and 10 tents.

In addition, SDRPY will work on transmitting expertise and knowledge to Yemeni cadres in the agricultural sector. These groups will look to protect vegetation from diseases in collaboration with the Yemeni government, local authorities, and specialized international agencies.

The project’s agricultural benefits are expected to have positive repercussions on living and economic conditions in Yemen.

SDRPY’s project is aiming to strengthen food security and protect agricultural production to achieve greater self-sufficiency in Yemen.
 

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KSrelief, UNHCR chiefs discuss humanitarian efforts

Updated 51 min 2 sec ago

KSrelief, UNHCR chiefs discuss humanitarian efforts

RIYADH: Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), met with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi virtually on Thursday.

Al-Rabeeah reviewed KSrelief’s aid and humanitarian efforts to stricken countries all over the world, especially Yemen, and the Kingdom’s efforts towards Yemeni and Syrian refugees and the Rohingya minority in Bangladesh, as well as the joint executive programs signed by KSrelief and the UNHCR.

The meeting covered topics of common interest, their strategic partnership, the close relations between the two sides and ways to enhance it.

They also discussed mutual future programs and projects to serve refugees around the world.
 


Experts discuss WhatsApp’s new privacy update

Updated 55 min 19 sec ago

Experts discuss WhatsApp’s new privacy update

  • “People have made this into a bigger issue than it really is”: cybersecurity expert

JEDDAH: As WhatsApp launches a new in-app banner in response to the backlash over its privacy issue, Saudi experts and users weigh in on the company’s strategy.

“Harvesting user data is part of Facebook’s strategy,” Abdullah Al-Gumaijan, cybersecurity expert, told Arab News.

“It seems this will never change, even if it costs them millions of users, like what happened to WhatsApp last month when they updated their policy,” he said. “Today, WhatsApp will force their users to accept a similar policy. However, this time around they made it very clear they will not share users’ actual conversations.”

As long as WhatsApp remains a free app, he added, Facebook will make sure to get what it can from its users’ data.

Fahd Naseem, a WhatsApp user, said: “People have made this into a bigger issue than it really is. Facebook and other social media platforms are already using the data; there’s nothing wrong in WhatsApp using it too.”

He told Arab News that this data helps the apps deliver better and more personalized ads to their users.

Fatimah Al-Maddah, owner of Labothecaire, said that the privacy issue does not concern her and her team. “We use services like Dropbox for sensitive matters, and if we need to discuss something, we normally call. So, we don’t risk our information to begin with.”

WhatsApp will allow users to review its privacy policy, and users will have to agree to the new terms or risk losing access to the app. The firm said that it was facing issues because of “misinformation” regarding the changes, which led users to believe that their information was accessible by WhatsApp’s parent firm, Facebook.

However, WhatsApp said that it would never allow that to happen and that its end-to-end encryption ensures that people on both ends of the conversation are the only ones who can read those texts; not even the company has the access to them.

In a blog post, the company clarified that it would be working hard to clear up confusion and that it would be sharing the updated plan for how it will ask users to review the terms of service and privacy policy.

“In the coming weeks, we’ll display a banner in WhatsApp providing more information that people can read at their own pace,” the blog post read.

The company also faced backlash because of the poorly worded terms in the previous update, which caused confusion and concern and resulted in users abandoning the app entirely and moving onto other platforms.