Top Saudi research team gets government funding to help find COVID-19 vaccine

Saudi medical staff carry out tests on people entering the Kingdom via a land border. (Saudi Health Ministry)

RIYADH (RAHNUMA)  Saudi health chiefs on Tuesday announced funding for a major scientific initiative aimed at helping find a vaccine for the killer coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

A team of 33 top Saudi scientists and researchers has been assembled for the new Ministry of Health program to look into the genetics behind the virus and take part in global efforts to develop a cure.

The medical experts will study and run tests on the nature of the virus and put forward proposals for original projects offering solutions to the challenges faced by the Kingdom and the world in tackling the deadly outbreak.

A collaborative group of Saudi scientists from various universities had already met to discuss and draw up a plan for fighting COVID-19 prior to the first case being reported in the Kingdom and before the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared it a pandemic.

Members of the group include a number of notable scientists from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), namely Prof. Arnab Pain, who is leading the pathogen genomics part of the work, Dr. Fathia Ben Rached, Dr. Amit Subudhi, Sara Mfarrej, and Dr. Qingtian Guan.

They have been joined by doctors Asim Khogeer, Fadwa Alofi, Afrah Al-Somali, and Khaled Al-Quthami from the Ministry of Health, doctors Naif Al-Montashiri and Ahmed Bakur from Taibah University, and experts from King Abdul Aziz University such as Dr. Anwar Hashem and Dr. Turki Abujamel.

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