Saudi Arabia on schedule to lift driving ban on women as planned on June 24

Saudi Arabia on schedule to lift driving ban on women as planned on June 24
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A Saudi woman practices driving in Riyadh, on April 29, 2018, ahead of the lifting of a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia in the summer. In September 2017, a royal decree announced the end of a ban on women driving — the only one of its kind in the world — as of June 2018. (AFP/Yousef Doubisi)
Saudi Arabia on schedule to lift driving ban on women as planned on June 24
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A Saudi woman practices driving in Riyadh, on April 29, 2018, ahead of the lifting of a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia in the summer. In September 2017, a royal decree announced the end of a ban on women driving -the only one of its kind in the world — as of June 2018. (AFP / Yousef Doubisi)
Updated 08 May 2018

Saudi Arabia on schedule to lift driving ban on women as planned on June 24

Saudi Arabia on schedule to lift driving ban on women as planned on June 24
  • Women 18 years of age and older will be allowed to apply for a driver’s license
  • Driving schools for women have been set up across five cities in the kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi women will be allowed to start driving in the kingdom from June 24, the General Department of Traffic Director General Mohammed Al-Bassami said on Tuesday.
“All the requirements for women in the kingdom to start driving have been established,” Bassami was quoted as saying in a statement released by the government.
In September 2017, a royal decree announced the end of a decades-long ban on women driving — the only one of its kind in the world.
Women 18 years of age and older will be allowed to apply for a driver’s license, Bassami said.
Driving schools for women have been set up across five cities in the kingdom, and teachers will include Saudi women who obtained their licenses abroad.
Women with foreign driving licenses will be able to apply for a local one through a separate process, which will also assess their driving skills.
“It is no secret that many women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hold driving licenses from abroad,” the statement added.
Saudi women have previously petitioned the government for the lifting of the ban, and even taken to the wheel in protest.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, is seen as the force behind the lifting of the ban, part of a series of reforms being pushed by the powerful royal in the conservative kingdom.
His Vision 2030 reform plan for a post-oil era seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the workforce, up from about 22 percent now.
The decision to allow women to drive could give them the much-needed mobility to join the workforce.
Saudi women now no longer need male permission to start business.
But Saudi activists say social change will only be cosmetic without dismantling the kingdom’s rigid guardianship system, which requires women to seek permission from a male relative to study, travel and other activities.


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

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

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.