Top Ten

August 31, 2020

U of A researchers to launch clinical trials for potential COVID-19 antiviral drug

Researchers at the University of Alberta are preparing to launch clinical trials to test if an antiviral drug that can cure a coronavirus in cats will be effective as a treatment for COVID-19 in humans. “In just two months, our results have shown that the drug is effective at inhibiting viral replication in cells with SARS-CoV-2,” said UAlberta Biochemist Joanne Lemieux. “This drug is very likely to work in humans, so we’re encouraged that it will be an effective antiviral treatment for COVID-19 patients.” The findings were published in peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications after being posted on the research website BioRxIV. Lemieux explained that, since the drug has already been used to treat cats with coronavirus, it has already passed many of the typical requirements for going to clinical trials and is able to move forward more quickly. U of A  (AB)

UOttawa announces on-campus COVID-19 testing centre

The University of Ottawa has announced that it will be opening its own COVID-19 assessment centre dedicated to the on-campus community. The new centre will only be open to students, staff, and faculty members associated with the university until further notice, and will be located in a building that is easily accessible by foot, bike, or light rail. It will be offered in collaboration with The Ottawa Hospital and managed by a physician from the hospital. “Once the centre is up and running at full capacity, said UOttawa President Jacques Frémont, “the hope is that the uOttawa assessment centre will also help lighten the load carried by other testing facilities in the city.”  UOttawa  | Ottawa Citizen  (ON)

In favour of internships for doctoral training: Opinion

“The academic-job market … will not be improving anytime soon. That fact has many implications for individual departments and for academe as a whole,” writes Leonard Cassuto, “but for graduate students, it means many of them will need to widen their career horizons.” Cassuto argues that high quality internships that harness doctoral students’ advanced training should be integrated as a regular part of doctoral study. Reflecting on a model at the University of Iowa, Cassuto argues that the four main components to a successful internship for graduate students are thoughtful advance planning, designing regular check-ins with interns, encouraging interns to engage in public outreach, and developing internships to have a strong educational focus.   Chronicle of Higher Ed  (International)

Threat group publishes alleged data from RMC following cybersecurity attack

A threat group spreading ransomware has started publishing copies of files that it allegedly copied last month from Royal Military College, reports IT World Canada. The article states that this appears to be an effort to pressure the institution into paying the group. The college and the umbrella organization Canadian Defense Academy reported a breach of security controls on July 8th, which was reportedly the result of a mass phishing campaign. A spokesperson for the Department of National Defense (DND) stated that it is assessing the extent to which the RMC’s data was compromised.   IT World Canada  (National)

KPU joins UMAP, supporting student exchanges and faculty connections

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has announced that it has joined the University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific Consortium (UMAP). UMAP builds connections between 600 universities and colleges in order to support student exchanges, online joint classrooms, and faculty connections. “This will enhance our learning communities’ access to quality international experiences,” explained KPU Associate Vice-President, International Carole St Laurent, “while advancing KPU towards its mission of thinking and acting together to transform lives and empower positive change.”  KPU  (BC)

Coop UQAM opens for online purchases, will not sell used books

The Université de Quebec au Montréal’s Coop UQAM has announced that it will be offering purchases of books and course notes directly through its website for the fall term. The book store will be offering delivery both through Canada Post and through eco-delivery methods such as cargo bike or electric truck; as well as pick-up from the new Coop Berri-UQAM store. General Manager Thierry Bachelier added that the Coop will not be buying back or selling used books this fall for health reasons, although they hope to be able to offer the service in the winter term.   UQAM  (QC)

U-Pass returning for postsecondary students in Metro Vancouver, differences between schools

Following closely on the heels of students in Kingston, Ontario, postsecondary students from Metro Vancouver will have access to a universal transit pass when classes resume next month. The student unions, institutions, and TransLink negotiated during the summer semester to determine a viable way to continue the program, given that it is used by students for non-academic travel as well. The Vancouver Sun explains that the program will be applied differently depending on which of the 10 participating public institutions a student attends, with some institutions limiting access based on students’ home residence or level of participation in on-campus classes.  Vancouver Sun  (BC)

NS student fined for not self-isolating

A university student in Antigonish, Nova Scotia was fined $1K for failing to comply with provincial self-isolation regulations. Last week, NS announced that postsecondary students entering the province from outside of Atlantic Canada would need to self-isolate for 14 days and undergo COVID-19 testing three times before attending in-person classes. The student was charged for being in violation of the province's Health Protection Act.   Halifax Today  (NS)

CIBT looking to spin off student real estate subsidiary

CIBT Education Group has announced plans to spin off its student real estate subsidiary, Global Education City (GEC), as a separately listed entity. GEC has become a major private provider of housing options in Metro Vancouver over the past five years, with international students as a target demographic. CIBT, which also owns Sprott Shaw College and Sprott Shaw Language College, explained that the move would see GEC become a publicly traded platform where investors could invest in the Canadian student housing sector. Daily Hive reports that GEC currently has four operational student housing properties with another seven locations that are either proposed, planned, or under construction.  Daily Hive  (BC)

U of T to lead secretariat for CanCOVID

Two faculty members from the University of Toronto will lead the secretariat for CanCOVID, a platform that brings together over 2,300 researchers from across the country to inform COVID-19 policy decisions. The Canadian government has invested $1.25M to support the development of the network, and U of T states that the network’s secretariat will be based at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health’s Institute for Health Policy Management and Evaluation. Vivek Goel will serve as network scientific adviser for the network, while Julia Zarb will be the academic and managing director. “By helping researchers from a broad range of disciplines come together to share information and develop solutions to COVID-19,” stated Navdeep Bains, Canada’s minister of innovation, science and Industry, “we are ensuring that we have the strongest possible evidence base to help Canada safely navigate its way out of this pandemic.”  U of T  (ON)