Loyal to the Last, Queen’s Corgis and Pony Watch Her Pass

Emma, the monarch's fell pony, stands as the Ceremonial Procession of the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Windsor Castle for the Committal Service at St George's Chapel, Monday Sept. 19, 2022. (AP)
Emma, the monarch's fell pony, stands as the Ceremonial Procession of the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Windsor Castle for the Committal Service at St George's Chapel, Monday Sept. 19, 2022. (AP)
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Loyal to the Last, Queen’s Corgis and Pony Watch Her Pass

Emma, the monarch's fell pony, stands as the Ceremonial Procession of the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Windsor Castle for the Committal Service at St George's Chapel, Monday Sept. 19, 2022. (AP)
Emma, the monarch's fell pony, stands as the Ceremonial Procession of the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Windsor Castle for the Committal Service at St George's Chapel, Monday Sept. 19, 2022. (AP)

Queen Elizabeth's black pony Emma watched the monarch's funeral procession pass by in the grounds of Windsor Castle, where it was held on a lead by a groomsman.

The queen's two corgis, Sandy and Muick, were also brought out for the arrival of the coffin at the castle, where Elizabeth was to be buried later in the day following a grand state funeral.

Held on leashes by palace staff, the dogs patiently waited in the forecourt of the castle.

The queen, who died this month aged 96 after 70 years on the throne, had a lifelong love of corgis and horses and enjoyed riding throughout her life. Her second son, Prince Andrew, will now take care of the dogs.



Royal Commission for AlUla Announces Arrival of New Leopard in Taif

Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has announced the arrival of a new Arabian leopard to the Arabian Leopard Breeding Center (ALBC) in Taif. SPA
Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has announced the arrival of a new Arabian leopard to the Arabian Leopard Breeding Center (ALBC) in Taif. SPA
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Royal Commission for AlUla Announces Arrival of New Leopard in Taif

Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has announced the arrival of a new Arabian leopard to the Arabian Leopard Breeding Center (ALBC) in Taif. SPA
Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has announced the arrival of a new Arabian leopard to the Arabian Leopard Breeding Center (ALBC) in Taif. SPA

Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has announced the arrival of a new Arabian leopard to the Arabian Leopard Breeding Center (ALBC) in Taif, as part of its efforts to preserve and protect the Arabian leopard, contributing to environmental balance in AlUla and aligning with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 goals.

The animal is the second leopard to arrive, enhancing genetic diversity within the breeding program.

As part of the breeding agreement, the RCU agreed to potentially transfer leopard cubs to broader centers across the peninsula in the future, sharing knowledge and expertise in the breeding process.

The first leopard, named Al Ain, came from Al Bustan Zoological Center in the UAE last April and was integrated into the ALBC's leopard population in July.


‘Ahlam Alasr' Film Achieves Remarkable Success at Red Sea Festival Premiere

The film is produced by Tape Productions in collaboration with the Red Sea Fund, and is directed by Fares Godus, starring Sohayb Godus, Najm, Fatma AlBanawi, and Hakim Juma. SPA
The film is produced by Tape Productions in collaboration with the Red Sea Fund, and is directed by Fares Godus, starring Sohayb Godus, Najm, Fatma AlBanawi, and Hakim Juma. SPA
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‘Ahlam Alasr' Film Achieves Remarkable Success at Red Sea Festival Premiere

The film is produced by Tape Productions in collaboration with the Red Sea Fund, and is directed by Fares Godus, starring Sohayb Godus, Najm, Fatma AlBanawi, and Hakim Juma. SPA
The film is produced by Tape Productions in collaboration with the Red Sea Fund, and is directed by Fares Godus, starring Sohayb Godus, Najm, Fatma AlBanawi, and Hakim Juma. SPA

Funded by the Saudi Cultural Development Fund, the film `Ahlam Alasr' attracted audiences at its premiere at the third annual Red Sea International Film Festival. The film’s premiere tickets were sold out within five days of the festival, and the movie garnered wide acclaim from both critics and the audience.
The film tells a unique story, exploring the depths of emotions and challenges faced by individuals in their daily lives. The story revolves around a retired football player who was famous before the internet came into existence. Along with his influencer daughter, he decides to seize an opportunity for revenge against those who wronged them. Together they embark on a toxic journey.
After the success of their first film “Shams Al-Ma'arif,” the Godus brothers impressed us again with their new film “Ahlam Alasr” and excelled in the film's direction, production, and acting. Director Fares Godus showcased precision in presenting the film, skillfully transporting the audience into a world of captivating details and events. The audience was also impressed and captivated by producer and lead character Sohayb Godus’ brilliant acting performance as well as Najm’s ability to inhabit the character she is playing.

“We are delighted with the support received from the Cultural Fund to bring our story to life and create something that lives up to the standards of the Saudi film sector. We are proud of the warm reception at the Red Sea International Film Festival, and we look forward to sharing this story with more audiences worldwide,” said Director Fares.

The film “Ahlam Alasr” is funded by the Cultural Development Fund through its Cultural Projects Incentive Program. Launched two years ago in partnership with the Quality of Life Program, the fund allocated a budget of SAR181 million to provide non-recoupable financing for projects in the cultural sectors, including film, to meet the needs of the cultural sector and contribute to its development.

The film, produced by Tape Productions in collaboration with the Red Sea Fund, directed by Fares Godus and starring Sohayb Godus, Najm, Fatma AlBanawi, and Hakim Juma, is expected to continue its screenings in other international film festivals. Its local cinema release will take place sometime next year, and the Godus brothers hope to sell international distribution rights soon to further solidify the position of Saudi film on the global stage.


Scientists: Climate Change Intensified the Rains Devastating East Africa

A dog stands in flood waters in Shirikisho village, Tana Delta region, in Kenya, 07 December 2023. (EPA)
A dog stands in flood waters in Shirikisho village, Tana Delta region, in Kenya, 07 December 2023. (EPA)
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Scientists: Climate Change Intensified the Rains Devastating East Africa

A dog stands in flood waters in Shirikisho village, Tana Delta region, in Kenya, 07 December 2023. (EPA)
A dog stands in flood waters in Shirikisho village, Tana Delta region, in Kenya, 07 December 2023. (EPA)

Ongoing catastrophic rains in Eastern Africa have been worsened by human-caused climate change that made them up to two times more intense, an international team of climate scientists said Thursday.

The analysis comes from World Weather Attribution, a group of scientists who examine whether and to what extent human-induced climate change has altered the likelihood and magnitude of an extreme-weather event.

Hundreds of people have died and millions more have been affected since the rains began in October.

October to December is a “short rains” season in Eastern Africa, with the frequency and intensity of the rains influenced by two naturally occurring climate phenomena: El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which this year have both shaped up to increase the likelihood of heavy rainfall.

To assess how climate change may have affected this year's season, 10 researchers used weather data from the three countries, as well as climate model simulations, to compare how the season has changed in today’s climate, which has warmed about 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit), with cooler pre-industrial climate.

They found that the magnitude of the rainfall had nearly doubled due to global warming. The scientists also said IOD had contributed almost equally to the intensity.

They found the rainfall experienced between October and December to be “one of the most intense ever recorded” in “short rains” seasons over the past 40 years.

Joyce Kimutai, principal meteorologist at the Kenya Meteorological Department and lead author of the study, said the findings stress the dangers of continually warming the planet and the need for humanity to cut down emissions as “whatever we’re doing is definitely not on track.”

“What the planet is telling us is that ‘You’re continually warming me, and there’s no way I can dispel that heat other than to increase in the way the atmosphere behaves,'” said Kimutai, who is also a researcher at Imperial College London.

The findings show the impact that the burning of fossil fuels, mostly done by rich countries, has on vulnerable populations. The world is experiencing more and more climatic extremes. Greenhouse gas emissions, which trap heat and warm the planet, are increasing to record levels. The World Meteorological Organization said last week that 2023 is almost certain to be the hottest year on record and warned of more worrying climatic events.

Climate change could cause even worse climate extremes than the heavy rainfall being experienced in Eastern Africa, said John Musingi, senior lecturer in climatology and climate change at the University of Nairobi.

“Global temperatures don’t need to increase much in order to destabilize the Earth life support system,” said Musingi, who was not involved in the study. “Once the climate mature equilibrium is broken it will be catastrophic.”

The study also looked at the impact of the heavy rains on communities in the region. The researchers found that people are struggling to deal with the effects of the rains as they are yet to recover from the devastating shocks of a three-year drought that was also exacerbated by climate change. They said increasing risks from extreme weather may strain responses by governments and humanitarian organizations.

Torrential rains and flash floods have caused rampant deaths, displacement, and destruction of infrastructure in parts of Eastern Africa, affecting millions since they began in October.

In Kenya, at least 154 people have died, and nearly half a million have been displaced. In neighboring Somalia, the death toll stood at 110 on Monday, with more than 1 million displaced. And in Ethiopia, the rains had caused the deaths of 57 people and displacement of more than 600,000 as of November 27. And in Tanzania, heavy flooding and landslides in the northern part of the country killed at least 68 people and injured 100 last weekend.

The rains have also caused an increase in cholera and other waterborne diseases in some parts.

“What we are witnessing in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia is yet another devastating blow to an already fragile humanitarian situation,” said Melaku Yirga, regional director for Africa at the humanitarian organization Mercy Corps. “Floods have washed away entire villages, wiping out homes, farmlands, and the critical infrastructure necessary to support a swift recovery and movement of people, goods, and much-needed humanitarian aid.”

He called on world leaders to honor commitments to assist communities in adapting and coping with challenges posed by climate change.

The situation in Eastern Africa emphasizes an urgent need for climate change adaptation, and a regional approach to address the crisis, said Musavengana Chibwana, regional humanitarian advocacy and policy manager for east and southern Africa at the humanitarian organization Save the Children.

“Just months ago, back-to-back drought in the Horn of Africa and lack of water claimed lives; now, flood waters are doing the same,” he said. “This is a clear indication of a climate crisis which is getting worse.”


Ma’aden, Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu Establish Mangrove Park to Preserve Coastal Ecosystems

The agreement was signed by Ma’aden CEO Robert Wilt and Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu CEO Mahmood Al Theeb
The agreement was signed by Ma’aden CEO Robert Wilt and Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu CEO Mahmood Al Theeb
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Ma’aden, Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu Establish Mangrove Park to Preserve Coastal Ecosystems

The agreement was signed by Ma’aden CEO Robert Wilt and Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu CEO Mahmood Al Theeb
The agreement was signed by Ma’aden CEO Robert Wilt and Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu CEO Mahmood Al Theeb

Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu to establish a mangrove park in the Kingdom, supporting carbon sequestration and biodiversity preservation.

The agreement was signed by Ma’aden CEO Robert Wilt and Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu CEO Mahmood Al Theeb, in the presence of Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadley, Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Alkhorayef, and Deputy Minister for Mining Affairs Khalid Al-Mudaifer at the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) which took place during the COP28 climate summit in Dubai.

Under the agreement, Ma’aden and the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu will develop a mangrove park and support planting initiatives on Gurmah Island in Jubail, which houses a rich natural mangrove habitat.

The two parties will also cooperate on research initiatives relating to mangrove planting and ecosystem health and will develop local community programs that support ecosystem restoration and improve environmental awareness.

"This partnership is focused on preserving the Kingdom’s unique natural environment. Mangroves provide one of the most effective natural carbon-capture ecosystems and our ability strategy provides a roadmap towards restoring and enhancing the biodiversity of our coastline, in line with Ma’aden’s vision for sustainable growth in Saudi Arabia," Wilt said.

According to Al Theeb, the “partnership with Ma’aden will continue to preserve and expand mangrove ecosystems in Jubail."

“Together we will develop impactful initiatives that benefit the local community and contribute to the Kingdom’s sustainability objectives,” he said.

Ma’aden also launched a dedicated mangrove plantation strategy during SGI that aims to protect existing forests, restore degraded areas and contribute to carbon reduction and biodiversity enhancement. The company has committed to planting 10 million terrestrial trees and 10 million mangroves by 2040, in line with its ambitions as an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) leader to be carbon neutral by 2050.

The strategy supports the Saudi Green Initiative’s target to plant 100 million mangroves in Saudi Arabia by 2030, which will offset around 96 million tons of carbon emissions and help to stabilize the Kingdom’s coastline ecosystems.


Renewable Energy Project in Yemen to Benefit over 62,000 Yemenis

Using Renewable Energy to Improve Quality of Life Project Concludes in Yemen with Benefiting over 62,000 Yemenis. (SPA)
Using Renewable Energy to Improve Quality of Life Project Concludes in Yemen with Benefiting over 62,000 Yemenis. (SPA)
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Renewable Energy Project in Yemen to Benefit over 62,000 Yemenis

Using Renewable Energy to Improve Quality of Life Project Concludes in Yemen with Benefiting over 62,000 Yemenis. (SPA)
Using Renewable Energy to Improve Quality of Life Project Concludes in Yemen with Benefiting over 62,000 Yemenis. (SPA)

Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik attended in Aden the closing ceremony of the Using Renewable Energy to Improve Quality of Life Project, which was implemented with a trilateral partnership of the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY), Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND), and Selah Foundation for Development, SPA said on Wednesday.
The project has benefited 62,000 people in five Yemeni governorates of Hadhramaut, Abyan, Lahij, Taiz and Al-Hudaydah.
During the ceremony, Yemeni Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Mohamad Al-Zaouri praised the generous support of the government of Saudi Arabia, through the SDRPY, AGFUND, and Selah Foundation for Development, for holding vital projects that affect citizens' lives and contribute to improving their standard of life.
He stressed that this support contributes to achieving sustainable development in the country.
The project significantly contributes to enhancing health and education facilities by efficiently meeting their energy needs in a sustainable manner. It supports the operation of critical medical equipment, creates conducive educational environments for students and teachers, and provides sustainable and accessible energy to targeted families through the installation of home appliance systems.
Moreover, this initiative aims to uplift the standard of living in Yemen by improving beneficiaries' daily lives, fostering economic development through increased agricultural production, bolstering food security for Yemenis, reducing carbon emissions to protect the environment, and establishing a clean, sustainable energy source.
The venture involves the rehabilitation of 12 drinking water wells using solar energy systems, provisioning of 35 renewable-energy-based agricultural irrigation systems, powering 20 educational and health facilities, and delivering renewable energy to 133 homes across five Yemeni governorates—Hadhramaut, Abyan, Lahij, Taiz, and Al-Hudaydah.
Project activities encompass comprehensive training courses tailored for field engineers. These courses focus on implementing solar energy systems, aiming to enhance the skills of field technical teams and fortify their technical capacities. The project's substantial contributions to society address numerous water-related challenges, such as interruptions and accessibility issues. The training curriculum covers a wide array of technical and administrative aspects.


US Promises Climate Aid for 20 Developing Cities

USAID chief Samantha Power. EPA
USAID chief Samantha Power. EPA
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US Promises Climate Aid for 20 Developing Cities

USAID chief Samantha Power. EPA
USAID chief Samantha Power. EPA

The USAID chief on Wednesday promised support for two dozen developing cities to cope with climate change and announced more than $2 billion in new adaptation finance from the private sector, Agence France Press (AFP) reported.

Samantha Power, administrator of the US Agency for International Development, is visiting the COP28 climate summit in Dubai. USAID promised $53 million to help 23 cities in the developing world switch to low-carbon and climate-resilient activities, including electric vehicles.

Cities targeted include Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek, the western Indian city of Rajkot, the northeastern South African city of Mbombela, and Hermosillo and Merida in Mexico.

Urban areas are responsible for three-quarters of global carbon emissions. USAID also announced the mobilization of another $2.3 billion in private-sector investment as part of an initiative by President Joe Biden to initiatives such as early-warning systems, climate-resilient food infrastructure and new financial products.

Twenty-one companies have newly committed funding through the initiative, dubbed the President's Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience, including IBM and Visa, USAID said, after 10 founding members joined last year at COP27 in Egypt.

Power, the latest senior US official to join lead negotiator John Kerry during the marathon talks, is focusing efforts on helping developing countries adapt to the changing climate.

"COP28 comes at the end of yet another year where people around the world saw their lives turned upside down by record-high temperatures and extreme weather -- from the catastrophic drought and now devastating flooding in the Horn of Africa to the hottest summer in Earth's recorded history," Power said.

"We must do more to address the climate crisis -- and we are," she said in a statement to AFP ahead of her arrival.


This Year will be the Hottest in Recorded History, Confirms European Monitor

According to Copernicus, 2023's global average temperature is 1.46°C warmer than pre-industrial levels. Reuters
According to Copernicus, 2023's global average temperature is 1.46°C warmer than pre-industrial levels. Reuters
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This Year will be the Hottest in Recorded History, Confirms European Monitor

According to Copernicus, 2023's global average temperature is 1.46°C warmer than pre-industrial levels. Reuters
According to Copernicus, 2023's global average temperature is 1.46°C warmer than pre-industrial levels. Reuters

This year will be the hottest in recorded history after an "extraordinary" November became the sixth record-breaking month in a row, EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service announced on Wednesday.

Samantha Burgess, deputy head of the Copernicus service, said that 2023 has "now had six record-breaking months and two record-breaking seasons. The extraordinary global November temperatures, including two days warmer than 2C above pre-industrial (levels), mean that 2023 is the warmest year in recorded history."

According to Copernicus, 2023's global average temperature is 1.46°C warmer than pre-industrial levels.

There had been warnings this year could take the title of hottest year from 2016 – particularly after records toppled in September and October – but this marks the first time it has been confirmed.

Scientists say data from ice cores, tree rings and the like suggests this year could be the warmest in more than 100,000 years.


US Returns $8 Mn of Stolen Treasures to Türkiye

An aerial view of deserted streets around Hagia Sophia during a two-day curfew imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Istanbul, Türkiye, April 11, 2020. (Reuters)
An aerial view of deserted streets around Hagia Sophia during a two-day curfew imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Istanbul, Türkiye, April 11, 2020. (Reuters)
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US Returns $8 Mn of Stolen Treasures to Türkiye

An aerial view of deserted streets around Hagia Sophia during a two-day curfew imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Istanbul, Türkiye, April 11, 2020. (Reuters)
An aerial view of deserted streets around Hagia Sophia during a two-day curfew imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Istanbul, Türkiye, April 11, 2020. (Reuters)

United States authorities have returned $8 million of stolen antiquities -- some of which were plundered as far back as the 1960s -- to Türkiye, a prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Among the 41 pieces returned were two Heads of the Roman emperor Caracalla and the Bust of a Lady which were trafficked from Bubon, a Roman-era site in southwest Türkiye which was extensively looted in the 1960s.

"During my administration we have returned 90 antiquities to Turkiye, valued at more than $60 million," said Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, announcing the returns.

The pieces were returned at a ceremony attended by Türkiye's Deputy Culture Minister Gokhan Yazgi, according to AFP.

"Together I believe we can put an end to the blows dealt to the identity and history of nations," he said.

The Bust of a Lady dates back to around 160-180 AD and was taken from Bubon before being taken to Switzerland by the late American antiquities dealer Robert Hecht, Bragg's office said. He sold it to the Worcester Art Museum, where it remained on display until it was seized in June 2023.

The heads, one of a Younger Caracalla that had been at the Fordham Museum of Art and one of an older Caracalla that had been at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, were seized by US authorities on the same day in March 2023.

Since its creation, Manhattan's Art Trafficking Unit has recovered more than 4,700 antiquities valued at more than $400 million, and returned more than 4,000 of them to 25 countries.


Saudi Electricity Company Targets Net Zero Emissions by 2050

SEC acknowledged its role in addressing climate change and achieving carbon neutrality despite its tremendous contributions to providing electric power - SPA
SEC acknowledged its role in addressing climate change and achieving carbon neutrality despite its tremendous contributions to providing electric power - SPA
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Saudi Electricity Company Targets Net Zero Emissions by 2050

SEC acknowledged its role in addressing climate change and achieving carbon neutrality despite its tremendous contributions to providing electric power - SPA
SEC acknowledged its role in addressing climate change and achieving carbon neutrality despite its tremendous contributions to providing electric power - SPA

The Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), the largest producer, transmitter, and distributor of electrical energy in the Middle East and North Africa, announced that it seeks to reach net zero emissions by 2050 in line with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s endeavor to reach carbon neutrality by 2060 through the circular carbon economy approach, SPA reported.

The announcement was made during a special event SEC organized Tuesday on the sidelines of the United Nations COP28 climate-change summit in Dubai, during which the company said that it has laid the foundation of environmental practices that seek to reduce emissions through projects to raise energy efficiency, as well as developing the electricity transmission network into a smart network, with clean energy, renewable energy stations, and the smart meter project.

In line with its endeavor to achieve carbon neutrality, SEC said it has signed seven agreements and MoUs with leading local and international companies, including one with the Net Zero Technology Center (NZTC) and global professional services company Accenture to enhance solutions that help reduce carbon emissions in Saudi Arabia and beyond.

The agreement, which is part of SEC’s endeavors toward environmental sustainability, seeks to leverage digital technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) to contribute to reducing carbon emissions.
Under the agreement, SEC will collaborate with its partners to develop and launch a Center of Excellence for Sustainability, with the goal of developing solutions to reduce carbon emissions.

The company will also work with its partners to promote national innovation and entrepreneurship and develop local competencies.

“This day marks a milestone in our journey towards a sustainable future, as the Saudi Electricity Company proudly collaborates with NZTC and Accenture to establish a Center of Excellence for Sustainability,” SEC stated in a press release.

The cooperation between SEC, NZTC, and Accenture “demonstrates the company’s ongoing commitment to achieving decarburization targets throughout the Middle East,” said the release.


Scientists Develop New Technique to Deliver Vaccines without Needles

In this May 5, 2022, file photo, a nurse administers the Pfizer booster shot at a COVID-19 vaccination and testing site in Los Angeles. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images, FILE
In this May 5, 2022, file photo, a nurse administers the Pfizer booster shot at a COVID-19 vaccination and testing site in Los Angeles. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images, FILE
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Scientists Develop New Technique to Deliver Vaccines without Needles

In this May 5, 2022, file photo, a nurse administers the Pfizer booster shot at a COVID-19 vaccination and testing site in Los Angeles. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images, FILE
In this May 5, 2022, file photo, a nurse administers the Pfizer booster shot at a COVID-19 vaccination and testing site in Los Angeles. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

British researchers announced that they have developed a new technique that delivers vaccines in the body without needles. The technique could help deliver vaccines through the skin via ultrasounds without using needles that harm the skin and cause pain. The findings were presented at an international conference in Australia on Monday.

An estimated quarter of adults and two-thirds of children have strong fears around needles, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet, public health depends on people being willing to receive vaccines, which are often administered by a jab.

The new method relies on ultrasound pulses to form small bubbles that clear passages through the skin. Then, the pulses deliver the vaccine molecules through the bubbles, which allows its diffusion in the surrounding tissues.

“Our method relies on an acoustic effect called ‘cavitation,’ which is the formation and popping of bubbles in response to a sound wave,” said Darcy Dunn-Lawless, lead author from the University of Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering.

“We aim to harness the concentrated bursts of mechanical energy produced by these bubble collapses in three main ways. First, to clear passages through the outer layer of dead skin cells and allow vaccine molecules to pass through. Second, to act as a pump that drives the drug molecules into these passages. Lastly, to open up the membranes surrounding the cells themselves, since some types of vaccine must get inside a cell to function,” she explained.

Initial in vivo tests reported that the vaccine molecules delivered by the new approach produced a higher immune response, according to the Eurekalert website.

The researchers theorize this could be due to the immune-rich skin the ultrasonic delivery targets in contrast to the muscles that receive the jab.

According to Lawless, the result is a more efficient vaccine that could help reduce costs and increase efficacy with little risk of side effects. The team plans further research to explore the efficacy and safety of the new approach for specific vaccines like DNA vaccines.