Russian coronavirus vaccine trials to be held in Saudi Arabia

Russia is discussing the third stage of clinical trials of the Russian vaccine in Saudi Arabia. (Arab News photo/Basher Saleh)
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Updated 17 July 2020

Russian coronavirus vaccine trials to be held in Saudi Arabia

  • The Kingdom could be part of Phase III , involving thousands of people, which is expected to begin in August

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia is set to play a key role in the development of a Russian COVID-19 vaccine that produced promising results in the first phase of human trials.
The monthlong trial on 38 people ended this week, and a 100-person Phase II trial is under way.
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said the Kingdom could be part of Phase III , involving thousands of people, which is expected to begin in August.

“We are not only discussing the third stage of clinical trials of the Russian vaccine in Saudi Arabia,” said Dmitriev on Thursday.
“The Saudis have already bought our drug Avifavir, and we are also discussing with Saudi Arabia the production of the Russian vaccine on its territory.”
Avifavir is a drug used to treat severe forms of influenza, which has proven effective in clinical trials for treating COVID-19. Saudi authorities also recently bought supplies of COVID-19 testing kits from Russia.
 




Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund,  welcomed the ongoing collaboration and hailed the Saudi-Russian partnership as a good example of positive interaction between nations.

The RDIF and the Kingdom have worked together on a number of investment projects. Dmitriev welcomed the ongoing collaboration and hailed the Saudi-Russian partnership as a good example of positive interaction between nations.
“We believe that Saudi Arabia is an important partner for Russia and we consider that we have very good cooperation regarding the vaccine,” he said, adding that clinical trials could be carried out in the Kingdom. “We are ready also to discuss the production of drugs (in Saudi Arabia) with our Saudi partners.”
The vaccine was developed by the Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, in collaboration with the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Dmitriev said the initial trial found the vaccine to be safe and he expects it to be approved for use in Russia in August. If so, it could be the first approved vaccine in the world.
Russia plans to produce 30 million doses domestically this
year, plus a further 170 million doses elsewhere in the world, including Latin American and the Middle East.
 


Riyadh roads turn green as world’s largest urban greening project branches out

Based on experience, roads and streets without trees contain eight to 10 times the amount of dust compared with streets lined with trees on both sides. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 03 August 2020

Riyadh roads turn green as world’s largest urban greening project branches out

  • Capital gets a facelift as Vision 2030 program works to plant 7.5 million trees
  • Most of the tree species used in the project are from a well-developed local environment with low agricultural service and care

RIYADH: The Green Riyadh project, one of the world’s largest urban greening initiatives, is rapidly bearing fruit as it transforms main roads in the capital.

Major thoroughfares, including King Khalid, Makkah and King Salman roads, are getting a facelift as part of the Vision 2030 goal of improving quality of life in the city.
Dr. Fahad Al-Mana, a professor of Ornamental Plants, Gardens and Green Areas at King Saud University, told Arab News that native tree species being used for the project include Ziziphus spina-christi, Acacia gerrardii and Prosopis cineraria, commonly known as the ghaf tree.
According to Al-Mana, the trees can survive in harsh desert conditions and will grow without intensive agricultural care.
“Most of the tree species used in the planting of the Green Riyadh project are from a well-developed local environment with low agricultural service and care,” he said.
Environmental conditions in Riyadh were taken into account during the tree selection process. The species can grow to a large size in only three years.
“In some locations, they have moved large 3-year-old local trees that were taken care of in plant nurseries to new locations where they are growing successfully,” Al-Mana said.
Green Riyadh will increase the amount of greenery in the city and augment the green cover in the Saudi capital with the planting of 7.5 million trees around the city’s main features and facilities.
The project will reduce the average ambient temperature by 2 degrees Celsius and improve air quality, encouraging people to follow a healthier lifestyle by walking or cycling.

FASTFACTS

• The project will reduce the average ambient temperature by 2 degrees Celsius and improve air quality, encouraging people to follow a healthier lifestyle by walking or cycling.

• The project will maximize the use of recycled water in irrigation works by increasing usage from 90,000 cubic meters per day to more than 1 million cubic meters per day through the construction of a new recycled water network.

• Green space in the city will increase from 5 percent to 9 percent by 2030

“The aim of planting trees in the streets is to provide shade and moderate the temperature, especially in summer, which contributes to the purification of air and reduces environmental pollution by protecting the city from sand storms, winds and dust. In addition, it gives an aesthetic view and the element of nature enters the city and nearby structures,” said Al-Mana.
He added that trees, especially those planted in central street islands, must have long trunks and high branches to avoid hindering the movement of pedestrians and cars. The trunk must measure at least 3 to 4 meters and the size of the trees planted must be proportional to the width of the island.
Al-Mana said green space in the city will increase from 5 percent to 9 percent by 2030.
According to the Green Riyadh website, the project will maximize the use of recycled water in irrigation works by increasing usage from 90,000 cubic meters per
day to more than 1 million cubic meters per day through the construction of a new recycled water network.
Al-Mana said the Green Riyadh project will also reduce carbon dioxide and impurity levels in the city.
“Based on experience, roads and streets without trees contain eight to 10 times the amount of dust compared with streets lined with trees on both sides,” he said.