DiplomaticQuarter: Bangladesh ambassador to Saudi Arabia hails frontline doctors as heroes

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Updated 25 June 2020

DiplomaticQuarter: Bangladesh ambassador to Saudi Arabia hails frontline doctors as heroes

RIYADH: Bangladesh Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Golam Moshi on Tuesday paid tribute to the frontline doctors who sacrificed their lives in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Offering condolences to family members of the doctors who died on duty during the pandemic, Moshi called them “real heroes.”
At least five Bangladeshi doctors have died of COVID-19-related causes while serving in hospitals and clinics across Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Mohammad Shafiullah, a consultant at King Salman Hospital in Riyadh, died on June 19.
The first Bangladeshi doctor in the Kingdom to die from COVID-19 was 62-year-old orthopedic surgeon and general practitioner Dr. Afaq Hossain, who died on March 31 in Madinah after contracting the virus from patients at Safa Al-Madinah Polyclinic.
On June 16, Dr. Golam Mostafa, who was also based in Madinah, died. He had worked with the Saudi Ministry of Health for more than 34 years and had retired four months ago. He was waiting to go back to his home country.
On June 13, Dr. Md. Anwar Ul-Hasan died from COVID-related causes in Riyadh. He worked as a GP at Badruddin Polyclinic in Batha.
His fellow GP, Dr. Abdur Rahim, died on May 19 in Jeddah, where he had worked at Binladen Polyclinic.
Several other Bangladeshi doctors are receiving treatment for COVID-19 in the Kingdom, and two Bangladeshi doctors’ wives have also lost their lives to the virus in Riyadh.
The embassy is keeping in close contact with the medical community to ensure all possible support is given to them, Moshi said.


Saudi health authorities ready to join trials of COVID-19 vaccines

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

Saudi health authorities ready to join trials of COVID-19 vaccines

  • 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.

He added that the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health is working with a different Chinese company to evaluate whether the vaccine it is developing is effective. A number of factors are taken into consideration when reaching a conclusion.

“We examine the drugs and make sure they have caused no side effects when tested on humans, or that they just caused insignificant side effects,” said Al-Harbi. “We also look into the manufacturing company’s profile to ensure it follows the standards of the good manufacturing practices, and that the company’s products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards.”

He added that SFDA is also doing a great job in ensuring that vaccines are safe, to avoid any risks to the health of people in the Kingdom.

In a message posted on Twitter, KAIMRC said that some countries, such as Russia, China and the UAE, have given doctors the green light to use some vaccines on patients before that have been approved, but only in emergency cases and when the results of early clinical studies indicate that the vaccine is safe.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia announced 27 additional COVID-19-related deaths. The death toll in the country now stands at 4,512.

Meanwhile, 492 new cases have been confirmed in the Kingdom, bringing the total number of people infected by the virus to 330,246. Of those, 14,235 cases remain active and 1,133 patients are in a critical condition.

The Ministry of Health said Makkah recorded the highest number of new cases, with 58, followed by Jeddah with 53, and Madinah with 38.

A further 1,060 people in the Kingdom have recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 311,499. A total of 6,093,601 tests for the virus have been carries out in the country, including 43,652 in the past 24 hours.