Saudi ‘virus busters’ on fast track to global success 

Saudi ‘virus busters’ on fast track to global success 
The World Health Organization has praised the Kingdom’s approach, while many heads of state cited the Saudi example as a “success story” during the G20 leaders summit on Nov. 22.(AFP/File)
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Updated 02 December 2020

Saudi ‘virus busters’ on fast track to global success 

Saudi ‘virus busters’ on fast track to global success 
  • California latest state to praise Kingdom’s rapid-response strategy

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia’s efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus are gaining global attention after researchers across the Kingdom highlighted the success of a string of measures adopted in recent months.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in early March, the Kingdom has launched a range of health protocols that have reduced the number of infections from a high of approximately 5,000 in mid-June to only hundreds today.
The World Health Organization has praised the Kingdom’s approach, while many heads of state cited the Saudi example as a “success story” during the G20 leaders summit on Nov. 22.
A study published in the Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal titled “Importance of early precautionary actions in avoiding the spread of COVID-19: Saudi Arabia as an example,” highlighted the effectiveness of the Kingdom’s efforts.
Speaking to Arab News, co-author Khalidah Alenzi said that the objective of the research was to measure the readiness of countries around the globe to deal with the pandemic.
The study, co-authored by Dr. Thamir Alshammari and Dr. Ali Altebainawi, was recently praised by Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, who said that he planned to use it — together with studies from France and Germany — as model for tougher restrictions in the state.
Alenzi, supervisor of the Ministry of Health’s Regional Center for Drug Information and Vigilance in Tabuk, said: “When the Californian governor presented Saudi Arabia as one of the best models for preventive and precautionary measures against the coronavirus, based on the research of the Saudi team, he shed light on only a tiny fraction of Saudi capabilities that have excelled in dealing with the pandemic.”
She said that the research team had shown that preventive and precautionary measures and health protocols had limited the number of deaths, despite criticism directed at these measures initially.
“We were surprised to find that we started early compared with other countries hit by the pandemic, especially those bordering China such as South Korea, and countries in East Asia,” Alenzi said.
“Based on this logic, we got the idea of carrying out independent research on Saudi Arabia to detect the cases of early reaction and present these as a model to be followed. In the beginning we thought of presenting comparative research with other countries such as Italy and France, but we discovered that data analysis would be marked by a huge difference.”
Alenzi said that the Kingdom’s initial measures faced criticism from some foreign experts for being too strict.
Critics had later “backtracked” after a spike in cases and the uncontrollable spread of the virus in their respective countries, she said.
“Had it not been for the extreme precautionary measures proposed by the research team, we never would have been able to avoid a second and third wave of the pandemic,” Alenzi said.
She said that countries such as Spain, where there are over 1.6 million confirmed cases and rising, have faced protests against measures adopted by their governments, and are now suffering from a second wave because of their failure to follow protocols set in place.
Residents of the Kingdom, in cooperation with the government and its institutions, were able to maintain control and have successfully controlled the spread of the pandemic. Saudi Arabia’s total confirmed cases are at 357,000, with less than 5,000 active cases as of Tuesday.
“This pandemic has proven the Kingdom’s highly capable and skilled cadres compared with European states. It has set an example with its ability to provide precautionary and treatment medicines to fight the pandemic,” she added.


Saudi Arabia advances in global COVID-19 research ranking

Saudi Arabia advances in global COVID-19 research ranking
Education Minister Hamad Al-Sheikh. (SPA)
Updated 25 January 2021

Saudi Arabia advances in global COVID-19 research ranking

Saudi Arabia advances in global COVID-19 research ranking
  • Saudi Arabia continues to be ranked first in the Arab World and 12th among the G20 member states

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has been ranked 14th internationally for its COVID-19 university research, rising from its previous 17th ranking, according to the database of the Web of Science.

The Kingdom continues to be ranked first in the Arab World and 12th among the G20 member states.

Education Minister Hamad Al-Sheikh thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their support for education, for attaching great importance to research and innovation, and for supporting scientists and researchers in Saudi universities to become globally competitive.

He said that this achievement was a continuation of the efforts of the Kingdom in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. This reflected the Kingdom’s capabilities when it came to managing crises.

Al-Sheikh said that Saudi universities had published 84 percent of the Kingdom’s COVID-19 research, and that the Kingdom had published 915 scientific papers by local scientists since the outbreak of the pandemic.

He thanked Saudi universities that contributed to publishing the research papers as well as the faculty members and researchers who were serving their community.

Al-Sheikh said that this achievement reflected the Ministry of Education’s keenness to organize events that enhanced the participation of Saudi universities, research centers, researchers and academics in supporting scientific research during the pandemic.

This was in addition to coordinating the efforts of universities through specialized workshops to improve the efficiency of research and its contribution to fighting COVID-19, discussing ways to prevent and treat the disease, and investing in the research capabilities of the staff of universities and research centers by finding scientific solutions that contributed to addressing the pandemic.