G20 envoys laud Saudi presidency

G20 envoys laud Saudi presidency
This handout photo provided by G20 Riyadh Summit, shows Saudi King Salman, center, and the rest of world leaders during a virtual G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia and held over video conference amid the Covid-19 pandemic, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 23 November 2020

G20 envoys laud Saudi presidency

G20 envoys laud Saudi presidency
  • Ambassadors approve of proposal that the G20 hold two summits each year

RIYADH: The ambassadors from the G20 states on Monday praised the Saudi presidency for undertaking such a huge task under extraordinary circumstances and providing a clear direction for tackling the coronavirus crisis.

After the Riyadh Summit concluded on Sunday, King Salman formally handed over the rotating presidency to Italy, which will hold the 2021 summit.

Speaking ahead of the closing remarks Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recommended holding two G20 summits — a virtual event in the middle of the year and a physical summit later.

Italian ambassador Roberto Cantone told Arab News: “The Kingdom has given proof of excellent organization. The Saudi presidency has worked since the beginning to adapt the original program to the challenges of the reality.”

“The Saudi president managed to catalyze G20 action to tackle one of the most pressing global emergencies of our time. This has been done in a very comprehensive manner, focusing both on the health emergency and on the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic,” he said.

He said the incoming Italian presidency will build on the legacy that Saudi Arabia has left.

South Korean ambassador Jo Byung-wook said: “The G20 Summit this year once again proved itself to be the premier forum for international economic cooperation. It would not have been possible without Saudi Arabia’s tremendous efforts leading all G20 member countries to invest their resources in responding to the global crisis.”

The Kingdom has given proof of excellent organization.

Roberto Cantone, Italian ambassador

“Saudi Arabia demonstrated its leadership and competence to the world by successfully hosting two summits this year,” he added. “In this respect, as suggested by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, holding two G20 summits annually would actively utilize this global forum with proven effectiveness.”

Japanese ambassador Tsukasa Uemura told Arab News: “The summit successfully provided a clear direction for the international community in the midst of the crisis, which is significantly meaningful in such a difficult year.”

“Saudi Arabia has demonstrated tremendous leadership in delivering clear and vital messages to the international community that the G20 would take the lead in creating an international order for the post-corona world,” he added.

EU ambassador Patrick Simonnet said: “We have very much appreciated the Saudi presidency for holding the Extraordinary Summit in March, where G20 leaders discussed the most urgent consequences of the pandemic on all aspects of our lives.”

Praising the Kingdom for the G20 Summit’s success Chinese ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chen Weiqing tweeted: “A friend sent me a message from China that amid the uncrecedented pandemic Saudi Arabia has achieved exceptional success in chairing the G20 over virtual conferences, and he was very impressed. I agree, as the Kingdom has won the respect and appreciation of the world.”

Mexican ambassador Anibal Gomez-Toledo noted: “The crown prince’s proposal to hold two G20 annual summits could have potential and should be further discussed by the group’s members.”

Indonesian ambassador Agus Maftuh Abegebriel told Arab News: “We acknowledge the recommendation made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on holding two summits. It would surely be beneficial to the economic recovery.

He said the Saudi presidency has proven that the G20 Summit can also be held virtually and prove effective.

 


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.