Two Saudi undergraduate students, Fahad Shaya Al-Mutib and Abdullah Fahad Al-Dosari from Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University have been granted a patent for a chemical component isolated from the plant Peganum harmala, also known as wild rue or African rue, which seems to be a promising weapon against the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease, that is known for destroying livestock herds and ruin farmers. This discovery will be an immunization source for the livestock in order to keep them vaccinated and protected from viral decease.

It was the idea of Maged Saad Abdel-Kader, professor of pharmacognosy at Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, to encourage these students to use plant-based components, especially since Peganum harmala had been commonly used by farmers previously, for treating its cattle for the said decease. The research was initiated by the students, under their mentor's guidance back in the year 2019.

As per the traditional practice, this sickness was treated by the farmers, by soaking a large amount of Peganum harmala in water for at least a day, allowing the plant's chemicals to get dissolved in the water, and then given to the cattle to drink.

The research involved various stages, such as collecting the plant, then extracting components, and finally sending it to the virology laboratory at the Armed Forces Hospital for Veterinary Medicine in Cairo.

The researchers faced a number of hassles during the entire procedure such as finding a laboratory that was able to conduct experiments on the target virus, the time-consuming process, and the complexity of the procedures, among others.


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