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Saudi Arabia Ranks 17th in Global Coronavirus Research

Scientists around the world have been working around the clock to produce notable research on the novel coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia's Education Minister Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh said that universities in the Kingdom landed the first spot in the Arab world in global coronavirus research and the 17th globally. Scholarly efforts amount to 1.8 percent of the world's research production. A major country contributing to coronavirus scholarship on Covid-19 across several fields with one earning an "US patent and trademark for early detection methods," according to Arab News. 

Having dealt with the similar MERS outbreak years back, the Kingdom used its expertise in its response against the pandemic and managed to publish Covid-19 findings in a record time. When it comes to Covid-19 detection and diagnostic methods, Dr. Hani Abdullah Al-Hadrami, a consultant and associate professor of molecular diagnostics and medical biotechnology at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, successfully registered his invention in the U,S Patent and Trademark Office. His research doesn't resort to polymerase chain reactions or PCRs but uses low-cost tech delivering test results in a record time.

"The novel platform is a simple diagnostic sensor that can be used by unskilled personnel, such as nurses in the field, or that can be employed in a physician’s office."

"The technology requires neither medical experts nor specialized laboratories to operate it. It is easy to use in airports, for example, to examine pilgrims who come to visit Makkah and Madinah before they can reach the holy sites. It would be useful during Hajj and in any public places where people normally gather in large numbers. We have identified and validated a probe, which is specific for COVID-19 and which will be integrated with conventional and commercially available fluorometers to be used as a screening assay to make it durable and portable so it can be carried in hospital emergency rooms and clinics," Al-Hadrami told Arab News.

Other advantages to this integrated tech approach is that it is cost-efficient, in-situ, provides quick and accurate detection of COVID-19, and does not require time-consuming lab work. “This innovation will show the whole world that Saudis, like any other scientists in developed countries, have contributed to finding innovative solutions for the detection and diagnosis of COVID-19,” he said. 

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