Saudi environment ministry develops breakthrough vaccine against livestock abscess

Saudi environment ministry develops breakthrough vaccine against livestock abscess
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The ministry is working on vaccines for other diseases based on local isolates of bacteria and viruses. (Supplied)
Saudi environment ministry develops breakthrough vaccine against livestock abscess
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Abdullah Sulaiman Al-Sudais, Al-Watania Agriculture’s CEO Supplied)
Saudi environment ministry develops breakthrough vaccine against livestock abscess
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Mohammed Al-Fuhaid, General Directorate of Laboratories director at the MEWA. (SUPPLIED)
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Updated 14 April 2022

Saudi environment ministry develops breakthrough vaccine against livestock abscess

Saudi environment ministry develops breakthrough vaccine against livestock abscess
  • Treatment expected to deliver ‘major benefits’ to animal production in the Kingdom
  • Joint scientific team’s field surveys, clinical trials yield results in record time

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has announced the development of a vaccine against livestock abscesses, saying that tests have shown the treatment is “100 percent safe” and offers greater than 80 percent efficacy. 

“I expect the vaccine to be ready for production in the second half of 2023,” said Mohammed Al-Fuhaid, General Directorate of Laboratories director at the MEWA.

“We’ve already developed the vaccine. We are in the process of doing experiments on the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness,” he told Arab News.

MEWA is working on vaccines for other diseases based on local isolates of bacteria and viruses, with the vaccines “expected to have an impact on the fight against animal diseases, and diseases common to humans and animals,” Al-Fuhaid said.

The joint scientific team’s work plan, which led to a vaccine against livestock abscess diseases being developed in record time, included field surveys and clinical tests to determine the rates of abscess infections in sheep, goats and camels in several regions of the Kingdom. 

Samples and recorded information were used to determine the incidence of abscess disease and study their epidemiology, Al-Fuhaid said.

The action plan also guided animal breeders and carers, explaining how to prevent and control these diseases. 

The team isolated and classified bacteria from samples collected from infected animals. Bacterial isolates were used to produce experimental vaccines for immunization against pseudotuberculosis and Morel’s disease.

Ahmed Al-Eyada, the undersecretary of MEWA, said that the research is part of the ministry’s efforts to develop vaccines from local disease isolates with a higher immune response compared with global isolates.  

“(It aims) to localize the veterinary vaccine industry under the initiative of the Center for the Development and Production of Veterinary Vaccines for Local Isolates. That will contribute to the control and disposal of local diseases to preserve the country’s capabilities,” he said.

Al-Eyada said that the ministry tried the new “multicomponent” vaccine on sheep, and found it offered 100 percent efficacy and excellent protection rates. 

“The specialized specific protection rate in the challenge tests reached 100 percent in Caseous Lymphadenitis (pseudotuberculosis), while the result was 80 percent in Morel’s disease and the multicomponent vaccine resulted in the production of good levels of antibodies in immunized sheep,” he added. 

The ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with Al-Watania Agriculture Co. to collaborate on field experiments for veterinary vaccines, genetic improvement of sheep and goats, data analysis to calculate the genetic value, and genotyping. 

The MoU, which includes advisories and consultation on the analysis of results and data with overseas labs, was signed by Al-Fuhaid and Abdullah Sulaiman Al-Sudais, Al-Watania Agriculture’s CEO.

Al-Sudais said that the agreement will bring many positive results to the livestock sector, enhancing investment opportunities and maximizing benefits by improving the quality of work and genetics “of livestock, in particular.” 

Under the agreement, farms will be opened to joint working teams carrying out experiments and tests.

“It is likely that the agreement will yield many benefits for the animal production sector in the Kingdom,” Al-Sudais said.


KSRelief provides COVID-19 vaccines, health services in Yemen

KSRelief provides COVID-19 vaccines, health services in Yemen
Updated 02 October 2022

KSRelief provides COVID-19 vaccines, health services in Yemen

KSRelief provides COVID-19 vaccines, health services in Yemen
  • This comes as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to support Yemen and its people

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) provided health services to displaced people in Yemen, as well as Coronavirus vaccines in the country, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday. 
 
KSRelief has been providing support to Yemen’s national vaccination campaign, implemented by the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health and Population, in 12 governorates. 

KSRelief worked with the ministry from Sept. 24 to 28 as part of efforts to vaccinate a wider group of the population against the virus, according to SPA. 
 
Through the campaign, 446,966 people were vaccinated and 2,242 members of the Yemeni vaccination team were trained.

KSRelief also deployed 320 volunteer teams and 180 mobile teams to vaccinate the targeted population, SPA reported. 

The organization also set up mobile medical centers at Waalan Camp in the Haradh District to provide treatment to displaced people, according to SPA. 

From Sept. 14 to 20, the clinics received 56 beneficiaries with various health conditions in different clinics and departments and provided them with necessary medical services.

The KSRelief clinics also provided 162 individuals with medication.

The vaccination campaign and health services all come within the framework of the Kingdom’s goal to continue to provide support to Yemen and its people, SPA said.


Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief continues humanitarian efforts in flood-hit Pakistan 

Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief continues humanitarian efforts in flood-hit Pakistan 
Updated 02 October 2022

Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief continues humanitarian efforts in flood-hit Pakistan 

Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief continues humanitarian efforts in flood-hit Pakistan 

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) is continuing its efforts to provide humanitarian aid to flood-hit Pakistan, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday.

The team distributed 2,095 food baskets, 40 tents, and 400 mosquito nets in various provinces to 14,665 people on Friday, according to SPA. 

The aid comes within the Saudi Relief Land Bridge, directed by King Salman, to support Pakistan and its people following the disastrous floods that struck the country. 
The torrential rains and flooding, which began in mid-June and lasted for weeks, has killed over 1,600 people and affected nearly 33 million people Pakistan.


Global experts discuss economic, social impact of Saudi coffee in Jazan forum

Global experts discuss economic, social impact of Saudi coffee in Jazan forum
Updated 02 October 2022

Global experts discuss economic, social impact of Saudi coffee in Jazan forum

Global experts discuss economic, social impact of Saudi coffee in Jazan forum
  • Experts gather to discuss industry’s economic, social and environmental impact
  • Culture Ministry launches grant to support research into coffee sector

JAZAN: Experts from around the world have gathered in Jazan for the Saudi Coffee Sustainability Forum, which got underway on Saturday.

Organized by the Ministry of Culture and held at the Grand Millennium Jazan, the two-day event will discuss the value chain of Saudi coffee and its economic, social and environmental impact.

Among the speakers and guests are Dr. Bandar Al-Rabiah, who heads the development impact department at the Agricultural Development Fund, Dhafer bin Ayedh Al-Fahad, director of the Jazan Mountain Development Authority, and Keren Kellard, a consultant at the National Center for Social Studies in Riyadh.

Al-Rabiah said at the opening session: “The idea isn’t just to increase productivity, we want to help the farmer to benefit from his plantation and to allow tourists to visit the farm and in effect generate a larger income for them.”

One of the highlights of the opening day was the launch by the Ministry of Culture of the Saudi Coffee Research Grant. Organized in partnership with Saudi Coffee Co. and the Public Investment Fund it aims to encourage local researchers to produce scientific papers related to Saudi coffee in three areas.

The first is the history of coffee in the Arabian Peninsula, covering everything from ancient trade routes to the events that led to its spread in Saudi Arabia.

The second relates to coffee culture, including the social practices, rituals and festive traditions within the Kingdom.

The third relates to cultural research into developing Saudi coffee through government procurement in order to promote a sustainable economy and preserve its heritage.

Mayada Badr, CEO of the Culinary Arts Commission, said: “The Ministry of Culture aims to strengthen the position of Saudi coffee. It aims to guide the community to the culture associated with coffee, to be proud of its distinctive identity, and to thank farmers and community members for preserving our culture.”

During the forum’s first session, Al-Fahad highlighted the efforts his team have made in cultivating the coffee industry in the Kingdom over the past 40 years, most notably with the establishment of an experimental facility that seeks to find the best agricultural crops for growing in the mountainous ranges in Jazan. He added that 900,000 coffee seedlings would be distributed for research use in the coming years.

Al-Fahad concluded his speech by saying the Culinary Arts Commission intended to establish the Saudi Coffee Museum in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and that the Kingdom had joined the World Coffee Organization.

The second session of the day discussed investment opportunities in coffee production and looked at sustainable methods of economic growth.

Karl Weinhold, a researcher in rural development and the coffee economy, said: “Most of my work revolves around how these people (farmers) can wrestle around with the institutions that they have been subjected to in order to achieve some sense of prosperity.”

Hassan Hajooj, a professor of economics at the College of Business Administration at King Faisal University, said that the coffee sector accounted for about 0.86 percent of Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product in 2020 and that that figure was set to rise to 6.18 percent over the next five years.

The Kingdom, which had 22,000 coffee shops in 2021, produces about 300 tons of high-quality Saudi Khawlani coffee a year, which is consumed locally and exported to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

The final session on the first day focused on the history and cultural influence of coffee.


Saudi artists at Artorama showcase interactive artworks

Saudi artists at Artorama showcase interactive artworks
Updated 02 October 2022

Saudi artists at Artorama showcase interactive artworks

Saudi artists at Artorama showcase interactive artworks
  • State-of-the-art installations are offering visitors a unique immersive experience

RIYADH: Creative artworks and state-of-the-art installations by Saudi artists at Artorama are offering visitors a unique immersive experience.

Artorama, Nowaar Entertainment’s latest event, will run until Oct. 21 in Riyadh’s Laysen Valley. 

The first zone features distinctive designs from five Saudi artists. The visitor must physically touch the designs to view the artworks in their full, colorful glory.

“Eternal Light” by Ameera Sheikh was originally executed as the cover for the yet-to-be-published novel by Sara Al-Hussain. It tells the story of a young girl who sets off on a journey to uncover a mysterious power as she faces unknown evils ahead. 

“I wanted to show the magical and mysterious environment but with an ominous and an unsettling feeling that makes you feel a little anxious as you are drawn into the piece, just like our heroine,” Sheikh told Arab News. 

The artist was told in the past to leave Saudi Arabia in pursuit of job opportunities abroad, but she saw the great potential for a better future at the time, which has now proven to be the case for aspiring artists. 

“I feel very grateful for being patient. We had a little community of artists here where we helped each other improve by hosting small galleries and gatherings to keep it active and help it grow,” she said. “Now our community has a very powerful impact both globally and locally, and this has been strengthened by the current growing embrace of art and artists in the country.” 

‘Eternal Light’ by Ameera Sheikh tells the story of a young girl who sets off on a journey to uncover a mysterious power as she faces unknown evils ahead. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

In illustrator Ethar Balkhair’s piece, the visitor’s touch brings two figures to life in an explosion of color, highlighting the cultural and social aspects of Al-Balad, Jeddah’s historical area. “Jeddah is all about color. I really wanted to reflect the spirit of Al-Balad in this art. At the same time, I wanted to tell the story of Hijazi people,” she told Arab News.

Balkhair was born into a family with a passion for art; one of their household activities was to sit down and draw together. Her collaboration with Artorama was the first opportunity for her to showcase her illustrations in a local setting, but her work has reached far beyond Riyadh, with big names such as Vogue and Bobbi Brown featuring her art.

“Recently, with the initiatives from the Ministry of Culture and others, people have a chance to release the art that’s inside of them. Now, everyone has a space. In Saudi Arabia, the art scene is only growing,” Balkhair said. 

The event allows visitors to indulge in their senses and experience art in immersive and innovative ways. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

“Artwork doesn’t just have to center around beauty. There’s a story behind it. Now, they’re shedding light on the artist behind the art, and that supports us even more, makes us more confident, and allows us to explore more without fear,” she said. 

Mahmoud Zaini’s “Human Sustainability” takes a deep dive into the ethics and future of modern technology. The eccentric piece, drawn in 2017, raises awareness of the tech industry’s impact on humanity. “I was extremely disgusted by our trajectory as a race. Eventually, technology will turn us into cogs in its machine. I decided, therefore, to illustrate that concept with this contraption that recycles everything coming in and out of this ‘consumer’ to grant him a more sustainable existence,” Zaini told Arab News. 

HIGHLIGHTS

• The first zone features distinctive designs from five Saudi artists. The visitor must physically touch the designs to view the artworks in their full, colorful glory. Zone 1 also has an infinity room and a photo booth station, where visitors can engage with dynamic backgrounds.

• Zone 2 features a variety of attractions including a ball pit with interactive games, a projection drawing station, 3D printing, immersive swings and a volcano sandbox, where both children and adults can learn more about the science of volcanoes.

• Anamorphic projection mapping technologies in Zone 3 utilize high-power projectors to give visitors the illusion of seeing the building’s interior while standing outside of it.

The artist expressed his delight with the General Entertainment Authority’s interest in highlighting the topic. “I am extremely happy with the trajectory we’re headed in as citizens of the Kingdom, where art pieces are appreciated and dialogue around them is fostered. What an incredible time to be in as a Saudi artist interested in big questions,” he said. 

Zone 1 also has an infinity room and a photo booth station, where visitors can engage with dynamic backgrounds. Exhibition-goers can color and design their own race car, which is then scanned and projected as if racing through the streets of Riyadh. 

Zone 2 features a variety of attractions including a ball pit with interactive games, a projection drawing station, 3D printing, immersive swings and a volcano sandbox, where both children and adults can learn more about the science of volcanoes as they build their own. Anamorphic projection mapping technologies in Zone 3 utilize high-power projectors to give visitors the illusion of seeing the building’s interior while standing outside of it. 

The event allows visitors to indulge in their senses and experience art in immersive and innovative ways. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

“This event releases the inner kid inside of us. We all like to play, we all like to experiment, and this is a good place to test that out,” Khalid Sonbol, one of the project managers at Nowaar Entertainment, told Arab News.

Artorama was one of the winning pitches under the General Entertainment Authority’s “Ideas for Entertainment” initiative in 2021, which aimed to empower 20 Saudi projects centering around entertainment activities and preserving Saudi heritage for future generations. Nowaar Entertainment seeks to amplify Saudi voices, showcasing exclusive works by Saudi artists and creators around the Kingdom — even in their product gift shop. “We’re interested in showing what we have in the Kingdom,” Sonbol said. “We believe entertainment is necessary. Most people used to travel to have an actual entertaining experience. They would go to museums, parks. Now, we don’t need that. We have that here,” he said.


Saudi Arabia launches cybersecurity awareness campaign to ward off threats

Saudi Arabia launches cybersecurity awareness campaign to ward off threats
Updated 02 October 2022

Saudi Arabia launches cybersecurity awareness campaign to ward off threats

Saudi Arabia launches cybersecurity awareness campaign to ward off threats
  • The campaign offers an introduction to the importance of cybersecurity

RIYADH: The National Cybersecurity Authority launched the National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign which aims to promote the values of preserving national security and raise awareness of cybersecurity.

The campaign, launched to coincide with Cybersecurity Awareness Month, aims to achieve comprehensive cyber integration between national authorities.

The NCA noted that the campaign includes physical and digital events to raise awareness about cybersecurity, including 12 sessions for national authorities, a mobile exhibition for awareness on cybersecurity in four authorities’ headquarters, and an awareness-raising campaign called “La Taftah Majalan.”

The campaign offers an introduction to the importance of cybersecurity and its role in mitigating changing online threats, social engineering and catfishing methods, and the importance of security updates.

In addition, the campaign will address the need for using strong passwords to secure social media accounts, along with other topics which aim to develop a high-level cyber education to combat challenges and risks.

The authority noted that it is necessary to keep raising awareness on cybersecurity in order to have a safe, reliable Saudi cyberspace.