KAUST-developed COVID-19 test kit to have big impact for Saudi Arabia

KAUST-developed COVID-19 test kit to have big impact for Saudi Arabia
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University president Dr. Tony Chan celebrates the new test with NoorDX chief executive Abdulaleh Alhawsawi.
KAUST-developed COVID-19 test kit to have big impact for Saudi Arabia
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KAUST President Dr. Tony Chan was the first to take the Kingdom’s new COVID-19 RT-PCR test. (KAUST/West)
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Updated 06 October 2021

KAUST-developed COVID-19 test kit to have big impact for Saudi Arabia

KAUST-developed COVID-19 test kit to have big impact for Saudi Arabia
  • Startup NoorDX launched the new service
  • The service will expand to include communities throughout the Kingdom

JEDDAH: The Kingdom’s first COVID-19 RT-PCR test, developed at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, has been approved by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.

KAUST startup NoorDX launched the new service at KAUST Health, and university president Dr. Tony Chan was the first to be tested.

Located in the Core Labs at KAUST, NoorDX provides a full suite of processing equipment using biotech diagnostics developed by Dr. Samir Hamdan, professor of bioscience, and his Rapid Research Response team.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the number of daily PCR tests in the Kingdom has risen from a few thousand to between 75,000 and 110,000 a day. Saudi Arabia has used kits developed outside the country to meet demand, but in-house capability increases self-reliance while reducing waiting time and related costs. The result is an economical, single-step, multiuse RT-PCR test priced significantly lower than previous tests. 

The service begins at KAUST, and will expand to include communities throughout the Kingdom. People can expect high-accuracy results delivered to their personal devices via QR code in 24 hours, with most results returned in 12 hours. Travelers are good to go after downloading and printing the report. For a premium, results can be returned within five hours.

In addition to being the first Saudi test kit provider, NoorDX will be the first genomics entity in the Kingdom with fully localized capability, offering a portfolio of genomic services from early in 2022. Most clinical tests are currently sent abroad, and localized production is strategic to building genomics expertise within the Kingdom.

NoorDX chief executive Dr. Abdulaleh Alhawsawi said: “This is a great moment, both for KAUST’s ability to provide quality RT–PCR tests, and soon, gene sequencing. NoorDX will cater to Saudi communities with a full range of services and downstream applications, from dry to wet lab technologies, to analytics, to building the Saudi biobank and national genome.”

KAUST is transforming patient care through its partnerships. NoorDX is among a constellation of experts contributing to robust health services from the areas of academia, economic innovation, biotechnology and biopharma. They include Dr. Pierre Magistretti, director of the Smart-Health Initiative; Dr. Samir Hamdan and the Rapid Research Response team; Dr. Arnab Pain, director of the Pathogen Genomics Laboratory; KAUST Innovation; the Core Labs; the Office of the President; the Office of Research; the Department of Health, Safety and Environment; and KAUST Health.


Saudi, Algerian foreign ministers chair political consultation committee session

Saudi, Algerian foreign ministers chair political consultation committee session
Updated 10 sec ago

Saudi, Algerian foreign ministers chair political consultation committee session

Saudi, Algerian foreign ministers chair political consultation committee session

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Algerian counterpart chaired the third session of the Saudi-Algerian Political Consultation Committee in Algiers on Thursday.

Prince Faisal and Ramtane Lamamra noted the consensus of their views on regional and international issues of common concern, and reviewed bilateral relations, Arab, regional and international issues, and ways to support security, stability and prosperity.

They also discussed ways to confront challenges in order to achieve progress in their countries and support international peace and security.

Lamamra hosted a dinner in honor of the Kingdom’s foreign minister and his accompanying delegation on Wednesday.


Saudi Arabia tells UN meeting on food security ‘global cooperation is vital’

Saudi Arabia tells UN meeting on food security ‘global cooperation is vital’
Updated 19 May 2022

Saudi Arabia tells UN meeting on food security ‘global cooperation is vital’

Saudi Arabia tells UN meeting on food security ‘global cooperation is vital’
  • Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji said the KSA’s foreign policy attaches great importance to enhancing security and stability

RIYADH: A Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs official confirmed Wednesday that the Kingdom had taken crucial steps to enhance food security, put forward strategies to promote food growth and face climate change and water scarcity. 

Waleed Al-Khuraiji, Saudi deputy minister of foreign affairs, said these measures contributed to improving food security indicators in the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the Global Food Security Call to Action meeting at the United Nations on Wednesday, Al-Khuraiji said that the food security challenge proves that sustainable recovery depends on international cooperation.

He said despite progress in the development process, achieving the 2030 SDG (social development goals) had become extremely difficult, as global expectations and indicators show a deviation in the path towards achieving the second goal of the program, which includes the eradication of hunger.

“Among the global health challenges are the spread of pandemics, as the spread of the COVID-19 revealed to us the fragility of the international system in combating a virus that is not visible to the naked eye, which led to severe consequences that affected societies and economies,” Al-Khuraiji said, adding  that this affected people’s lives, their livelihood and declining economic indicators.

He said Saudi Arabia led a global response to the pandemic that accompanied the Kingdom’s G20 presidency, as it supported global efforts to confront this pandemic with $500 million, in addition to providing $300 million to help countries’ efforts to address the pandemic.

“The Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 focused within sustainable development efforts on building a sustainable agricultural sector, strengthening sectors that support food systems, developing systems and improving agricultural productivity, and worked to strengthen research and innovation capabilities to ensure sustainable progress in food security,” Al-Khuraiji said.

In this regard, he said Saudi Arabia presented crucial initiatives to the region and the world, and had created a road map for facing environmental challenges. These intuitive include the Saudi Green Initiative the Middle East Green Initiative, and the circular carbon economy initiative.

Al-Khuraiji said the  Kingdom’s foreign policy attached great importance to enhancing security and stability, supporting dialogue and peaceful solutions, and providing conditions that support development and achieve people’s aspirations for a better tomorrow, weather in the Middle East or the world.

He added Saudi Arabia had always reiterated its commitment to helping the disadvantaged and countries hit by natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

“The Kingdom is the largest donor of humanitarian and development aid at the Arab and Islamic levels, and is one of the top three donors at the international level,” he said. 


Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation

Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation
Updated 19 May 2022

Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation

Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation
  • Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid says the meeting was organized upon Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s directives

RIYADH: Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of defense, on Wednesday met the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Washington, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The pair reviewed the Saudi-US partnership, and ongoing and future strategic military and defense cooperation between the Kingdom and US.

Prince Khalid expressed Saudi Arabia’s appreciation for the close cooperation between the two countries' defense bodies to achieve the two sides’ common interests and enhance security and peace regionally and internationally.

 

 

He also said that the meeting was organized based on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s directives.

Prince Khalid and US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, then, co-headed the Saudi-US joint strategic planning committee meeting.

The Saudi and US defense delegations join a photo session after their meeting in Washington on May 18, 2022. (SPA)

The meeting discussed regional and international developments, and a number of issues on defending common interests and global security and stability.

The meeting was attended by Gen. Fayyadh bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, Saudi Chief of General Staff, and other Saudi and US senior officials.


Saudi foreign minister meets Algerian counterpart during official visit

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra. (SPA)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra. (SPA)
Updated 19 May 2022

Saudi foreign minister meets Algerian counterpart during official visit

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra. (SPA)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra on Wednesday evening, during his official visit to Algeria.
During the meeting, they reviewed the solid historical relations linking the two countries and ways of developing them in all fields.
The two sides also discussed enhancing joint cooperation in many aspects, the latest regional and international developments, and issues of common interest.
Lamamra hosted a dinner in honor of Prince Faisal and his accompanying delegation.
The foreign minister had arrived in the Algerian capital earlier on Wednesday.


Kahila horse championship to kick off May 25 in Saudi Arabia

Kahila horse championship to kick off May 25 in Saudi Arabia
Updated 18 May 2022

Kahila horse championship to kick off May 25 in Saudi Arabia

Kahila horse championship to kick off May 25 in Saudi Arabia
  • The event will highlight the significance of the ancient sport and the Kingdom’s efforts to advance it through local and international forums

RIYADH: An international event to celebrate the history of purebred Arabian horses is set to get underway in Saudi Arabia.

Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal, chairman of the Equestrian Authority and the Horse Racing Club, will on May 25 patronize the launch of the second edition of the five day Kahila championship meeting.

Organized by the King Abdulaziz center for purebred Arabian horses, the event will be staged at the Riyadh Front Exhibition and Convention Center and will highlight the significance of the ancient sport and the Kingdom’s efforts to advance it through local and international forums.