Pakistani actress granted permanent residency in Saudi Arabia

Pakistani actress granted permanent residency in Saudi Arabia
Pakistani actress Zara Albalushi has expressed delight over her permanent resident status in Saudi Arabia. (Suppied)
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Updated 01 January 2021

Pakistani actress granted permanent residency in Saudi Arabia

Pakistani actress granted permanent residency in Saudi Arabia
  • Actress thanks Kingdom, crown prince for granting her residency

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: Pakistani actress Zara Albalushi, who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and recently obtained permanent residency, has said she can now finally call the Kingdom “forever home.”

Riyadh-born Albalushi, 39, who attended Saudi schools and speaks fluent Arabic, posted a photo of her Premium Residency Card (PRC) on her social media accounts on Dec. 14.

The actress received the residency permit through a program launched by the Kingdom in 2019 under which eligible expats can now apply for residency without being sponsored by a Saudi national, as was the previous rule.

In a tweet, Albalushi, who has been acting in Saudi Arabia since 2010, said: “Thanks for the trust and for granting me a distinguished residence. My happiness is beyond description. Living and investment in Saudi Arabia; I want to live and die in it.”

On Wednesday, she told Arab News of her gratitude toward the Kingdom and said she hoped to be a “worthy addition” to the Saudi arts and cinema scene.

Albalushi, who has starred in a number of Saudi and Gulf network television dramas since 2019 including “Al-Mirath” and “Hello, Hi,” added that she was overjoyed at now being able to travel in and out of Saudi Arabia without restriction or the need for a visa.

“I have derived all my talent from the country and now today, and with the continuous developments in Saudi Arabia ... under the leadership of the young prince, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — may God protect him — I can say it is my home forever,” she said.


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.