Al-Suwaidi, after finishing his meeting at the Granada Health Technology Park (PTS), visited the Alhambra

The ambassador of the Emirates ends his trip to Andalusia with his sights set on the bio-health sector

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The Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, Majid al-Suwaidi, has concluded his official trip to Andalusia by visiting the Granada Health Technology Park (PTS), an innovative centre specialising in life and health sciences. Mr al-Suwaidi's visit to this facility is due to the Emirates' great interest in the health sector. The Gulf country has become the world's leading investment centre in this field.

Its modern hospitals, together with its professionals, have made the UAE one of the best healthcare countries in the Middle East. The Emirates is a destination for many citizens from the region and other parts of the world who seek efficiency and pioneering techniques in the treatment of illnesses, known as 'medical tourism'.

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Similarly, the Emirates demonstrated successful management during the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent vaccination campaign. For this reason, the Emirati ambassador emphasised the importance of health sciences and technological development in this field. He also expressed his desire to find new partners to collaborate on health projects.

For her part, Ana Agudo, director of the Health Technology Park, gave a brief explanation of the centre and its history. As Agudo reported, the PTS was built during the 1990s, growing and increasing the number of buildings over the years.

Parque Tecnológico de la Salud de Granada (PTS)

In recent months, the centre has begun to specialise in artificial intelligence with the aim of using it for healthcare purposes. It is collaborating with Indra, Google and the University of Granada on this project. "We are very excited about what lies ahead," said Agudo.

Afterwards, Al-Suwaidi listened attentively to presentations from several companies in this sector. José Antonio Llorente, director of GENYO, began the presentations to the ambassador. GENYO is a company that brings together public institutions and private initiatives, something that, in Llorente's words, "is an example of how the public and private sectors can come together to promote research".

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GENYO studies the genetic basis of various diseases such as cancer, diabetes and rare diseases. As a highlight, the company is also part of the Interfaith Alliance, an organisation that protects the rights of followers of all religions. GENYO is also involved in several humanitarian projects, such as the fight against child trafficking.

Diego Pozas presented the MEDINA Foundation, a company that researches new drugs for various types of diseases. The foundation has reached international agreements with countries such as Japan and the United States.

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Mario Delgado explained the objectives of the Institute of Parasitology and Biomedicine López Neyra (IPBLN), which is related to the CSIC. This body deals with issues related to cell biology, molecular biology, molecular pharmacology and biochemistry, among others.

Among the organisations presented to the ambassador, the Instituto de Investigación Biosanitaria de Granada (IBS) was also presented. Sarah Biel described this organisation as "an integrating space for biomedical research in Granada". She also pointed out the collaboration that the IBS maintains with the University of Granada. It has also agreed 16 projects with the European Union.

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Among the areas that the IBS is working on are oncology, focusing on causes and therapy; epidemiology, emphasising primary care and public health; precision medicine; and advanced therapies and biomedical technologies.

Francisco Vives, director of the Biomedical Research Centre of the University of Granada (CIBM), closed the meeting with al-Suwaidi. The CIBM has 80 specialised laboratories and is carrying out 350 research projects. At the international level, it collaborates with universities in Latin America and with countries in the Middle East such as the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

Al-Suwaidi also visited the IAVANTE advanced clinical simulation centre within the Health Technology Park.

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After the meeting with the leaders of the main bio-health companies, al-Suwaidi visited the Alhambra. The diplomat was accompanied by Rosario Alarcón, director of Andalucía Global; Rocío Díaz, director general of the Patronato de la Alhambra; Irene Bonal, member of the Patronato; Antonio Peral, curatorial architect; and Gonzalo Mochón, head of public visits. Before the guided tour, the ambassador signed the Alhambra's book of honour in the Torre de la Justicia.

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This trip by the Emirati ambassador al-Suwaidi has served to strengthen ties with Spain, both economically and culturally. Andalusia has been the perfect setting for strengthening relations in these two areas, due, firstly, to trade links through Andalusian exports to the Emirates, and secondly, to the cultural legacy of the region, which was a place of coexistence between the three Abrahamic religions. On the issue of religious and cultural coexistence, the UAE is also seeking to position itself as a preferred partner in the Middle East. Al-Suwaidi, during his visit to Andalusia, in addition to focusing on economic and trade issues, also stressed on several occasions his country's efforts to achieve tolerance and respect between different cultures.

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