5,000 people from Saudi Arabia to undergo vaccine trials once approved

5,000 people from Saudi Arabia to undergo vaccine trials once approved
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Updated 14 October 2020

5,000 people from Saudi Arabia to undergo vaccine trials once approved

5,000 people from Saudi Arabia to undergo vaccine trials once approved
  • Saudi Arabia on Wednesday reported 21 new coronavirus-related deaths

JEDDAH: Around 5,000 people from Saudi Arabia will undergo vaccine trials once a COVID-19 vaccine is approved by the country’s Food and Drug Authority, an infectious disease specialist in the Kingdom said.

“We will see results according to usage,” Dr. Wael Bajahmoom told Al-Ekhbariya in an interview. “In Saudi Arabia, we are part of the World Health Organization and we will use the vaccine that the country is looking for after the authorization of the Food and Drug Authority. Once approved by the Food and Drug Authority, approximately 5,000 from the Saudi community will be supervised for this vaccine trial.” 

He discussed the decision of pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Company to pause its trial of a combination antibody treatment for safety reasons, saying there were many factors to consider such as what it took to create a vaccine, was the dosage to temporarily slow down the rate of infection or were there certain goals to be met. 

Bajahmoom also said that vaccines went through rigorous testing before they were released.

“In the medical field, we always stress that vaccines must be completely safe to use. To not cause any side effects or harm to users, and to protect people from the pandemic for a long time. What’s the use of creating a vaccine that will only protect us for a month or three? Another factor is that vaccines must be effective for special cases too - the elderly, those with immune system disorders - it must be effective. Most countries do not release vaccines early. They first must pass rigorous clinical testing.”

There were three important stages. The development stage was when scientists discussed the possibility of using the virus in the method of killing it, and using it in genetic modification or for patients in general.

Some of it was tested on animals in laboratories and specialists saw if the results were effective on animals or not. 

“And in the final stage it is tested on humans in a limited way then, later, on a larger scale. Since the start of the pandemic, the Ministry of Health never allowed the use of any vaccine unless it has been tested and approved (safely) globally. This indicates that safety is first in the Kingdom.”

He explained there were some measures that countries used and adopted, such as emergency recognition of a vaccine. “This has been done in some neighboring countries. Vaccines are used under an emergency permit.”

Bajahmoom highlighted Saudi Arabia’s proactive role in finding a vaccine. “Research centers in the Kingdom are excellent and are a prime example for all developed countries internationally and medically.”

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday reported 21 new coronavirus-related deaths. The death toll now stands at 5,108.

There were 501 new cases, meaning 340,590 people have now contracted the disease. There are 8,662 active cases, and 830 of these are in a critical condition.

There have been 481 recoveries, taking the total number to 326,820.

Saudi Arabia has so far conducted more than 7.16 million PCR tests, with 51,849 carried out in the last 24 hours.


Saudi Arabia ranked safest among G20 nations, according to international indicators

Updated 02 December 2020

Saudi Arabia ranked safest among G20 nations, according to international indicators

Saudi Arabia ranked safest among G20 nations, according to international indicators
  • Results ranked Kingdom ahead of five permanent UNSC members — US, Russia, China, UK and France

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s progress has led to the Kingdom ranking first among G20 nations for safety, outperforming the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC), international safety indicators showed on Wednesday.

The results were revealed through five security indicators included in the Global Competitiveness Report 2019, and the Sustainable Development Goals Index 2020 (SDG Index 2020).

The SDG index ranked the Kingdom first among G20 nations, and ahead of the five permanent UNSC members — US, Russia, China, UK and France — in the percentage of population who feel safe walking alone at night. Saudi Arabia also performed better than Canada within the G20 countries.

Saudi Arabia also ranked first in the reliability of police services index; an indicator which measures public confidence in law enforcement and its success in achieving order and safety. The Kingdom topped the G20, and surpassed the five permanent UNSC members in this index as well.

The Kingdom also outperformed the five UNSC countries in an index measuring the effectiveness of combating organized crime, as stated by the Global Competitiveness Report 2019. Saudi Arabia came in second in the same index among G20 nations.

The Global Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum also showed that the Kingdom advanced three positions, now ranking 36 globally in international competitiveness.

The report pointed out the Kingdom’s energetic steps forward to diversify its economy, with expectations of growth in the non-oil sector. The report also discussed the emergence of more investments outside the mining industry within the public and private sectors in the next few years.

The report commended the Kingdom's strong determination to undertake structural reforms, its widespread adoption of communication technology, and its high potential for innovation, especially in terms of patent registration.